Greek Lemon Chicken Soup (Avgolemono)

Image from Girl and the Kitchen

From November through February I dream of wonderful bowls of steaming hot homemade soups paired with crusty slices of a grainy toast slathered in butter.  This one simple meal not only warms me from the inside out, but it nourishes my soul.

I honestly grew up eating canned soups and I don't remember us ever having home made soup as an evening meal. We definitely had things like chili and very occasionally beef stew, but soups were for lunch and were from Campbell's - Bean With Bacon, Vegetable, Chicken Noodle.

As an adult I started to discover how easy a basic soup could be.  A couple liters of good quality broth, a protein and some veggies (whatever needed using up) were thrown in the crockpot with some seasonings and enjoyed at the end of the day.  BUT to really create a wider variety of soups, I needed to start exploring recipes that were posted by others.

Last week my friend Colleen posted a link to this recipe on a website called Girl and the Kitchen. I had heard of Greek Lemon Chicken Soup before, but had never tried it.  I decided that this would be the first meal I made when I returned home from my trip. Last night was the night.

The instructions were simple and easy to follow (although I did have to really think about how to "sweat the onion and lemon rind").  But the rest seemed to come together easily. I used store bought chicken broth and when I found myself out of bay leaf, used a pinch of oregano and a pinch of thyme - a substitution recommended in an internet search. I did make slight adjustments to the cooking instructions to fit a way that made more sense to me and it seemed to work just fine.

I served the soup in BIG meal-size pasta bowls paired with thick slices of a crusty Cranberry-Pumpkin Seed Artisan loaf that was toasted and slathered in butter. It was a delicious and soothing meal to enjoy on a cold, dark, rainy winter night.  And I'd make it again in a minute. In fact this website has many interesting recipes on it.  As it's winter, I'm going to start by exploring her soup offerings, but as we head into spring, I will be checking out a few others.

I do have one tip I'd like to offer. I didn't really make 12 neat strips of lemon rind. While the exact number isn't important, it is nice to know how many you put in there, so when you have to take them out you know when you've gotten them all.

That's it.  Really simple and def worth making again.

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Greek Chicken Soup with Lemon (Avgolemono)
4 regular servings or 2 large meal size servings

Ingredients -

2            900 ML cartons of store bought Chicken stock, about 8 cups if using homemade
1 C        Cooked chicken - shredded or diced
1            Medium onion finely diced
½ C       Long grain white rice
1            Bay leaf (can sub pinch of oregano, thyme or a little of each)
12          Lemon zest strips about 2 lemons zested (My lemon was huge so only took 1)
2            Large eggs
2            Large egg yolks
¼ C       Fresh lemon juice from zested lemons
Sprigs of dill for garnish (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Directions -

To a large pot, add 1 tbsp olive, onion and lemon strips. Allow to sweat for 7 minutes over low-medium heat while covered. Make sure that no color develops.

Add chicken stock or broth to the pot long with the rice, bay leaf and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to and simmer until rice is tender and stock is aromatic, about 20 minutes. With slotted spoon, remove and discard bay leaf and lemon zest strips. Increase heat to high and return stock to boil, then reduce heat to low. Place stick blender into the pot and blend for a few seconds. If you do not have a stick blender, place about 2 cups of the soup into a blender and blend until smooth.

In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, yolks, and lemon juice lightly until combined. While whisking constantly, slowly ladle about 2 cups of hot stock or broth into egg mixture; whisk until combined. Pour egg-stock mixture back into pot along with the cooked chicken. ook over low heat, stirring constantly, until soup is slightly thickened, about 4 to 5 minutes. After this, do not simmer or bring to a boil as this will cause the soup to get gummy.

Taste and season with extra salt, pepper and lemon juice if necessary. Serve immediately with sprigs of dill, extra lemon zest and black pepper.