Whenever I go to a Greek restaurant or coney island diner I almost always order the avgolemono. Usually I butcher the pronunciation, but I can make it happen. Typically the soup has rice instead of orzo, but I much prefer the pasta version. The creamy texture, fresh lemon flavors, and chunks of chicken and vegetables are delightful.
I ate this soup all last week for lunch. It reheats well and was filling and delicious. When it snows six inches during the first week of March, you need a warm soup to keep your spirits up! I've never made a soup that uses eggs for richness, but it adds a nice touch without adding any dairy or unnecessary fat. The eggs also give the soup a yellow-y hue which is nice because it shows off the lemon-ness.
This month for Secret Recipe Club I was assigned Wildflour's Cottage Kitchen, a lovely blog! Kelly take gorgeous photos of meals, cocktails, and treats she makes for her and her husband. It was hard to make a final decision because the blog was so much fun to explore! You should definitely check out Kelly's blog!
Avgolemono (Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup)
Adapted from Wildflour’s Cottage Kitchen
Yield - 92 ounces (6-8 servings)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
3 quarts water
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup chopped onion (2/3 of a large onion)
3/4 cup chopped celery (4-5 stalks)
3/4 cup chopped carrots
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
salt + pepper
2 tablespoons Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 1/4 cup orzo pasta
2 large eggs
zest from one lemon
juice of one lemon
Add the chicken, water, and bay leaf to a sauce pot to cook. Simmer and cook for about 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken and set aside to cool and chop.
Boil the liquid until it reduces to 2 quarts.
While the chicken boils, chop the onions, celery, and carrots. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot. Add the veggies and cook until soft, about 20 minutes Stir frequently and season with salt and pepper.
Add 6 cups of the chicken cooking liquid (there should be about 2 cups remaining) to the softened vegetables and stir in the chicken base, thyme, chopped chicken and orzo. Let the mixture simmer on low for 10-15 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.
Whisk together the eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Add 1 cup of hot chicken water gradually to temper the eggs. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the soup pot stirring constantly. Cook, without boiling, for another 5-10 minutes until the soup thickens.
Portion into jars and allow to cool before refrigerating. Add a little water when reheating.