Soup’s On: Greek Lemon Soup

A little more than ten years ago, my husband and I travelled to Greece for our honeymoon.  The history, the architecture, the landscape, the beaches…all were amazing.  But I expected all that.  What surprised me was the food!  Until that point in time, the only Greek food I’d had was the diner variety…gyros, Greek salad, maybe an occasional stuffed grape leaf.  While these are all dishes I enjoy—they could never have prepared me for the delicious cuisine found on both mainland Greece and the Greek Islands.

Although it was summer, a traditional Greek soup was on the menu at most restaurants:  Avgolemono soup.  It was described as a lemon soup, which I found most curious.  At our wedding just days before, we’d served a chilled strawberry soup, but I’d never had lemonsoup before.   I learned that Avgolemono is often served chilled during the warmer months, and hot during the colder months, as can be done with a Vichyssoise (although Vichyssoise is traditionally served cold, but makes an equally good hot soup).  Despite the incredibly hot, humid weather in Greece that August, I was served both the hot and cold versions during our trip. 

The preparation of this soup is simple.  Uncooked rice is simmered in chicken broth until tender, then a frothy mixture of eggs and lemon juice are slowly whisked into the hot soup.  The eggs are cooked within the broth, as I described on my  Secret Ingredient Online Blog, in a recent post about egg drop soup.   Then the shredded chicken and fresh parsley is added to complete the dish.  Although it has some of the components of egg drop soup, the chicken and rice make it heartier, and the lemon gives it a fantastic and refreshing tang.

Upon our return home, I quickly put together a Greek-themed dinner party for friends.  Naturally, we started with Avgolemono soup and it was the surprise hit of the evening.  I’ve made this soup many times since, both at home and in Connecticut cooking classes.  Each and every time I prepare Avgolemono soup, I’m reminded of our wonderful trip, the beautiful country of Greece, and all the fantastic food I discovered that August.

 Avgolemono Soup

Serves 4

4 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup brown rice

1 cup shredded cooked chicken

2 eggs

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

salt and pepper

Place broth and rice in a medium sauce pan, cover, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes, or until rice is cooked.

Meanwhile, use an electric mixer to beat eggs until frothy.  Add lemon juice and beat to incorporate. 

Add a couple tablespoons of the broth to egg mixture (to temper it), then add the egg mixture, a little at a time, to the hot broth, stirring continuously.  Add shredded chicken, salt and pepper, and heat gently for a few minutes. 

Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with parsley. 

Note:  Soup may be served immediately, or can also be served chilled.


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2 Responses to “Soup’s On: Greek Lemon Soup”

  1. Sam Sotiropoulos Says:

    Excellent! Yes, Greek food is so much more than the fast food elements that have been popularized in much of the rest of the world. In my opinion, it is truly the last remaining Undiscovered Country of the European Culinary Arts. As for Avgolemono soup, it is truly a wonderful concoction, good for you to pick it up and run with it! Bravo! Do you know you can also make avgolemono sauce to cover various dishes such as stuffed cabbage or vine leaves?

  2. Tracy Says:

    Thanks for your comment! I hadn’t thought of the idea to use it as a sauce—-sounds delicious! I’ll definitely report back as soon as I try it!

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