Avgolemono, or Greek Lemon Chicken Soup, sits at the top of Chicken Soup Mountain; I am sure of it. I make my version with the broth made by boiling a carcass of an organic cooked chicken after the last of the meat has been picked off and saved to put in the soup.
Put the whole carcass and any separate bones in a soup pot along with a carrot, a small white or yellow onion, a couple of stalks of celery, a teaspoon of whole black peppercorns, ½ tsp. of salt, and a bay leaf. Pour in water to just above the top of the chicken, bring to a boil, lower the heat to a good simmer, cover, and cook for 2 to 3 hours. Check the water level from time to time while it cooks and keep the chicken covered but don’t drown it. You want a nice, rich broth. Remove from heat, let cool a few minutes, then strain the broth through a mesh strainer. Discard the solids. Voila! You have joined a long line of cooks through the ages and produced your own broth.
The carrots and onions are grated, a trick I learned from Jacques Pepin’s book Fast Food My Way, in his recipe for Instant Vegetable Soup. As he says, “In the time it takes to bring the water to a boil, I can usually shred the vegetables for the soup. (I use the large-holed side of a box grater.)” Here’s a link to the PBS site about him: http://www.pbs.org/food/chefs/jacques-pepin/
Lemon Chicken Soup
Prep time 15 minutes
Cooking time 20 minutes
2 cups cooked white rice – I use Basmati
5 cups liquid – If you have homemade chicken broth, use that and your soup will be its most silky, rich version. The soup in the photo was made with 4 cups of water and 1 cup of homemade broth. It is also delicious made with 5 cups of water and 3 Tbsp. of Organic Better Than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base. I buy it at Costco.
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 medium carrots, grated
1 medium large white or yellow onion, grated
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 to 2 cups chopped cooked chicken meat
¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat leaf Italian parsley or 1 Tbsp. dried parsley
1 Tbsp. fresh finely chopped dill weed or ¼ tsp. dried dill weed
½ tsp. salt or to taste
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper or to taste
Juice of 1 lemon
Equipment: Large, heavy sauce pan or soup pot with lid
- Heat the pan about a minute. Add the olive oil. Sauté the celery, onions, and carrots in the oil until the celery begins to soften and the onions just start to turn golden.
- Add the liquid and the salt and pepper. Bring to a boil on medium high heat. Add the chicken. Lower the heat and cook on a vigorous simmer/low boil about 15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.
- Add the parsley and dill and lower the heat to a gentle simmer.
- Break the eggs into a small mixing bowl. Add the juice of the lemon and whisk together to beat the eggs. Slowly add ¼ cup of the hot soup, in tablespoon-sized increments, to the egg mixture. This will temper the eggs so they don’t curdle when you add them to the pot of soup.
- Stir the egg mixture in to the soup. Cook on low about a minute. Serve hot with a scoop of the cooked rice.