Avgolemono (Greek Chicken Soup)

This weekend was Charleston’s annual Greek Festival. It’s a great family event, filled with dancing, history lessons, vendors selling crafts and other goods, and delicious Greek delights. As you can imagine, it’s one of my favorite festivals. Sadly, we had a busy weekend so we weren’t able to squeeze it in this year. I was pretty bummed out but cheered myself up by recreating my favorite dish that I typically only get to enjoy once a year at the festival–Avgolemono. It’s basically a Greek Chicken Soup but has this amazing explosion of flavors in each spoonful. It’s unusual because it has an intense lemon flavor and a velvety, almost custard-like texture. May sound a bit odd but that combination of lemon, rice, chicken and veggies is phenomenal and every time I inhale a bowl I promise myself that I’m going to make it. I discovered you can buy it by the can online but I had that promise hanging over my head so I peeled myself off the couch and got into the kitchen. After consulting several recipe and travel websites, and a friend’s Yiayia, I decided to give it a whirl and it turned out beautifully! I didn’t want to spend a whole Sunday in the kitchen so I simplified a lot of the steps (Sorry, Yiayia!) to be more realistic to my busy lifestyle. I also thought it might be an interesting change to try orzo instead of rice. You can stick with rice if you prefer though. I hope you enjoy!

Avgolemono

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Ingredients:

  • 1 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup carrot, minced
  • 1/2 cup celery, minced
  • 8 cups of chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup of orzo, uncooked
  • 2 T. flour
  • 1 T. butter, melted
  • 4 egg yolks
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Fresh chopped parsley
  1. In a large pot, saute onion, garlic, carrots, and celery until softened. Add chicken broth and lemon juice and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to medium high and add chicken breasts. Let cook for 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked. Remove chicken to cool and reduce liquid to simmer.
  3. Add orzo
  4. Mix melted butter and flour and add to the pot.
  5. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks. Gradually add in some of the hot liquid from the pot to the egg mixture, beating vigorously in between so you bring it up to temperature slowly without the eggs scrambling. You’ll end up adding about 2 cups of liquid in the end.
  6. Add the egg yolk mixture to the pot and stir. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Shred chicken and add back to the pot.
  8. Let simmer for a few minutes until orzo has fully cooked.
  9. Garnish with chopped parsley and enjoy!

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If you really want to go Greek, you can also serve with stuffed grape leaves! Yummy!

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