Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Avgolemono (Greek Egg Lemon) Soup

Ok, sorry to have to do this, but I'm posting another soup recipe. It's been so snotty out lately in NY with torrential downpours that I've been craving another bowl of warm yummies. There's a Greek restaurant near my house from which my husband and I occasionally break down and order a big container of avgolemono soup. The soup has a slight hint of lemon flavor and a silky amazing brothy base. Most recipes add orzo (little rice-like pasta) and something like corn starch as a thickener. booooo! But avgolemono is a great summer soup because the lemon gives it a bit of a 'cool' sensation, if that makes any sense. And I wants it.

In the spirit of finding a Paleo workaround, I scoured the internets for how to make traditional avgolemono soup and found it wouldn't actually be that difficult to adapt. This recipe requires a technique called "tempering" which is mixing a small amount of a hot ingredient into a cold one. We do this with delicate ingredients like eggs, cream, or chocolate to prevent them from curdling or getting lumpy. It sounds fancy and complicated, but really you just need a whisk and a spoon.

  • 1lb raw boneless chicken breast, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, smushed with the flat blade of your knife and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cups grated cauliflower (3 cups if you want more "stuff" floating around)
  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (roughly 4 lemons depending on their size)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 - 2 tsp fresh torn parsley leaves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1.  In a large stock pot, combine chicken, garlic, onion, cauliflower and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked, the onions are translucent, and the cauliflower is of the desired consistency. (Maybe 10 - 15 min?)
  2. While the pot is simmering, in a large bowl lightly whisk the eggs, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Here's a tip to get more juice out of your lemons - roll them on the countertop before you cut them. This will yield more juice when cut and squeezed.
  3. When the chicken and veggies in the pot have reached desired doneness, season with salt and pepper, and add torn parsley leaves.
  4. In order to add the egg mixture to the pot without making scrambled eggs, you'll need to temper the mixture. To do this, use a ladle or large spoon and scoop a bit of hot broth from the pot and pour it into the egg mixture while simultaneously whisking the eggs continuously. Do this a few more times until you add in at least a cup of broth, or feel that the temperature of the mixture has evened out to be stable enough to add to your pot. I err on the side of caution and add a LOT of broth.
  5. When the mixture is tempered to your heart's delight, dump it into the pot while whisking the entire soup until thoroughly combined. Now your soup has that delicious silky texture. Immediately turn off the stove and take the pot off the heat. Your soup is ready to serve!
Note: When re-heating this soup do NOT bring it to a boil as you could disturb the eggs. Heat it up gradually until warm.

I used the large holes on my box grater to grate the cauliflower. You could pulse it in the food processor as well to get this consistency if you don't have a grater.

Sorry this picture is so crappy, I didn't have enough hands. This is me tempering the mixture with some of the hot broth.

Whisk away!

Boom! Silky Smooth!
Mmmm... silkyyyy