I've had Avgolemono many time since and although Vicki gave me the recipe way back then, this is the first time I have ever made this soup. And I'm not using Vicki's, but Tessa Kiros' recipe from her Falling Cloudberries cookbook.
The main work, time and effort is to poach your chicken.
Rinse your chicken and place it in a large pot with and onion, celery stalk that has lots of leaves, a carrot, salt and a couple of peppercorns. These vegetables are going to be tossed so there's no reason to peel the carrot or onion. You do want to make sure they are clean though; and I do slice off the ends of the onion.
Cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer and about an hour and a half. With a slotted spoon, skim the surface periodically.
When the chicken is done, remove to a plate and set aside.
Strain the broth through a sieve then press the vegetables with the back of a spoon so you don't miss all the yummy flavor the vegetables have to offer.
Return the broth to the pot and add the rice. Cook until the rice is done.
Lastly, you add the magic. But it's simple magic. Just whip two eggs in a small bowl until they are light and fluffy. Add the juice from two lemons and whisk together. Temper the egg mixture by drizzling a ladle full of the hot broth into the eggs while whisking. When I'm tempering an egg mixture like this I usually use several ladlefuls to make sure the mixture is warmed up enough to add to the pot.
Stir the tempered egg mixture back into the pot and enjoy the creaminess of this rich, delicious soup. I put some shredded chicken in the bottom of our bowls then ladled the soup on top.
Tessa comments that you could easily add some thyme sprigs or other herbs to inauthentically infuse the broth of this classic Greek soup.
Avgolemono (Chicken Soup with Egg and Lemon)
Adapted from Tessa Kiros' Falling Cloudberries
1 (3 pound) whole chicken
1 white onion
1 celery stalk with leaves
1 large carrot
a few parsley stalks
a few black peppercorns
1-1/2cup long-grain rice, rinsed
juice of 2 lemons
MIse en place
- rinse chicken
- clean vegetables
- measure out rice
- crack eggs into small mixing bowl
- juice 2 lemons
Place chicken in a large stockpot with the onion, celery, carrot, parsley stalks, peppercorns and a good sprinkling of salt. Cover with about 14 cups of cold water and bring to a boil. Skim the surface with a slotted spoon, decrease the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for about 1-1/2 hours, skimming occasionally. Lift the chicken out onto a plate with a slotted spoon. Strain the broth through a sieve, pressing down lightly on the vegetables with your wooden spoon to extract the flavor. You should have about 6 cups of broth. Return this to the saucepan, add the rice and cook over medium heat for another 15 minutes or so, until the rice is cooked.
Whisk the eggs until they are fluffy. Add the lemon juice. Add a ladleful of hot broth to the egg, whisking to stop it from scrambling. Whisk in a little more broth, then add the entire egg mixture to the pan. Return the saucepan to the lowest possible heat for a few minutes to warm the egg through. Add some salt and pepper and serve immediately. If you like, shred one of the chicken breasts and scatter over the soup. Serve the rest of the chicken as a second course.
I'm sharing this at IHCC.