Monday Meals: Avgolemono Soup

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There’s a Greek restaurant in Seattle that RF and I make our way to from time to time. It’s not in an area that we hang out in often, but they serve a couple of dishes that manage to call us there. For me, it’s the avgolemono soup. If you’ve never had it, please give it a try! It’s a creamy, lemony chicken soup – perfect when you have a cold, or just need to warm up from the inside.

I’ve had The View From Great Island’s recipe for avgolemono soup pinned for awhile now, but have been put off by the tempering. Tempering is my great cooking fail. How many batches of ice cream custard have I tossed due to mis-tempering? So many. But I saw a big pile of sunny lemons in the store recently, immediately thought of this soup, and decided to throw caution to the wind. And how’d it go? Well…

The ingredient list is super simple, likely things that you have on hand. I had cooked some extra chicken breasts when making dinner earlier in the week for the express purpose of having them on hand for other recipes. Tofu would also work really well in this soup. I almost always have broth and rice in the cabinet, and eggs in the fridge. That just left the lemons.

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I cubed the chicken, which worked out to exactly the 2 cups called for. So far, so good. I dropped it into the simmering stock and water already heating on the stove.

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While the rice cooked and the chicken warmed, I got to work on the eggs. Two lemons squeezed the perfect amount of juice! I’m on a roll…

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I beat the eggs and whisked in the juice. Easy enough.

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Then, the tempering began… I do not have an in progress picture because I was way to stressed to stop whisking! I slowly poured a cup of the simmering broth into the egg and lemon mixture. Whisk whisk whisk! The whole time, whisk!! Could it be true? No curdling… So, I added another cup of broth. Whisk whisk whisk! What? Still good. Lots of creamy froth. Thickened base. No curds.

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So, I went for it and stirred the egg mixture into the remaining broth on the stove. Eep. RF showed up and captured my furious whisking. Whisk whisk whisk!! Still no lumps. Is it possible that my effort was a success?!

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I moved the pot off of the heat and dished up some rice. Can I just mention that Lundberg recommends adding butter to the water, and that it’s changed my life?! If you’re vegan or lactose intolerant, olive oil (and Earth Balance, I’m guessing) also does the trick. The added fats separate the grains and make for very fluffy rice that doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. But that hint of buttery flavor is just so rich and delicious – and complemented this particular recipe quite nicely.

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Rather than mixing the rice in, since I knew we wouldn’t eat it all and I didn’t want the rice to get mushy for leftovers, I ladled the soup over the rice in the bowl. Et voila! Tempered success!!

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OK, I didn’t style it nearly as nicely as The View From Great Island. And little snips of garnish are not my thing – such a waste when the bulk spoils in our fridge. But, I’m betting that it was every bit as delicious as the soup in the picture below. Though it has a warming flavor, it’s really a light soup perfect for any time of year. Definitely worth giving it a try!

avgolemono

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