Katina's Avgolemeno Soup
- Servings: 4 to 6.
This recipe was shared with me by my friend Katherine Ryden who married into a Greek family. With the recipe she wrote,
"The first time I had this delicious soup was when I met Paul’s family. His Aunt Chrysafou made it from his mother, Katina’s recipe. The key to this recipe is the quality of the chicken broth. I always use home made. Chrysafou made her broth from a hen!
The best way to prepare it is to poach a whole chicken and serve the best skinless breast meat cut in bite size pieces with the soup. This makes it a meal. Or, you can make a stock with backs and such. I serve Avgolemeno Soupa for dinner on a winter night with crusty bread and a green salad. It’s a very comforting meal."
- 3 eggs
- 5 cups best homemade broth or stock (see recipe below)
- Juice of two lemons (about 1/3 cup)
- 1/2 cup of orzo or long grained rice
- Bring the chicken broth to a slow boil. Add scant half cup of rice (Uncle Ben Converted is good) or orzo. When the rice or orzo is done and tender but not overcooked, remove pot from burner.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until they froth. Add the lemon juice (more if you like it lemony-er) while continuing to whisk.
- With a ladle, slowly add a cup of hot broth to the egg lemon mixture very slowly so it does not separate or cook the eggs. Continue whisking while you add the broth. Continue to add more broth, cup by cup, until the mixture is warm to the touch and the ingredients are well mixed. Return this egg/lemon/broth combination to the pot of broth.
- Adjust the heat so that the soup is hot but it doesn't boil -- the soup is delicate.
- Season to taste with salt, pepper, and perhaps more lemon juice. Garnish with thinly sliced lemons.
If you want a more substantial soup, you can add pieces of cooked chicken.
And what is the difference between stock and broth? A stock has been made with bones, as this recipe instructs, whereas a broth was made with no bones and thus has a less rich flavor.
Makes 3 quarts plus pieces of cooked chicken to add to your soup. If you only want stock, see the note at the end of the recipe.
1 3-pound chicken (you can alternatively use a hen which will have more flavor)
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 celery stalks, cleaned and trimmed of any leaves or dark spots, and cut into large chunks
1 medium yellow onion, cut into quarters
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 teaspoons salt
6 black peppercorns
- Rinse the chicken well, both inside and out. Use the whole chicken, neck, feet (if they come with the chicken) but not the heart, gizzard or liver as these will cloud the stock.
- Choose a large stock pot or Dutch oven that can contain both the chicken and about 4 to 5 quarts of water. Place the chicken in the pot and cover with cold water, enough to cover the chicken (about 4 quarts).
- Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Skim off any foam that develops on the surface. Cook for about 30 minutes.
- Add the carrots, celery and onion, salt and peppercorns. Simmer for about 30 to 45 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked through.
- Remove the chicken to a tray or rimmed sheet pan. Continue to simmer the broth while you let the chicken cool until you can remove the meat from the chicken. Discard any gristle or fat and return the bones to the broth and cook for another 30 minutes, until the vegetables are all completely cooked.
- Remove the carcass from the broth and strain the broth through a fine sieve into a large bowl or another large pot, pressing on the cooked vegetables to capture any remaining broth.
- Let cool completely and then refrigerate overnight. The next day you can remove and discard any fat that will have risen to the surface and solidified.
Note: If you only want stock and not pieces of cooked chicken, add all the ingredients at once at the beginning, plus 4 quarts of water, to a large stock pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and cook for a minimum of 4 hours, up to 6 hours. Drain using a fine sieve and discard all the pieces, including the entire chicken which will have cooked to the point of not having any flavor.