The first time I ever had Avgolemono, a Greek lemon soup made using either orzo or rice, was about a year ago at the New Saint Clair Restaurant in Downtown Brooklyn.
As the first spoonful of this substantial soup met my taste buds, it immediately seemed both hardy and refreshing. I was also impressed that something so new to me and with such an exotic sounding name could, at the same time, seem so simple and familiar.
Colleen, whose always looking to expand her culinary knowledge, thought it would be fun to try and make it herself in our Bensonhurst kitchen.
After scouring the Web comparing different recipes and watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding a merciless number of times, Colleen began to develop two things – An irrational hatred of bundt cake, as well as a great formula for this Greek classic.
Colleen’s Greek Lemon Soup With Chicken and Orzo
8 cups chicken stock
1 cup orzo pasta
4 eggs separated
Juice of 3 lemons
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 pound cooked and shredded chicken
Bring chicken stock to a boil. Add orzo and simmer until tender, approximately 20 minutes.
While orzo is cooking, in a separate large bowl whisk egg whites until medium peaks form. Add egg yolks and lemon juice, whisking continuously.
When orzo is cooked reserve 2 cups of the hot chicken stock.
Add the cooked, shredded chicken to the soup pot.
Mix the reserved chicken stock into the egg/lemon mixture, adding very slowly in a constant stream and beating vigorously to prevent the eggs from solidifying.
Remove the soup pot from the heat. Add the egg/lemon mixture mixing until thoroughly incorporated.
Serve immediately with fresh ground pepper.
Want to make your soup vegetarian friendly? Use vegetable stock in place of chicken stock and leave out the chicken. All the vegetarians in your life will rejoice!
If you are in a time crunch, use an already cooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store instead of cooking your own chicken.
Recipe and tips by Colleen