With all of the dreary weather we've had lately, it was only a matter of time before I found out about my new favorite winter dish: Avgolemono. One of our employees turned me onto it, and as soon as she listed the ingredients - rice, chicken, lemon, egg, cardamom - I had to try it. Immediately. No, yesterday.
It was the kind of comfort food that one can only dream of. Hearty, zesty, creamy, healthy. As with most soups, this one can be easily tweaked to accommodate any palate. If you have the time, homemade chicken stock always yields the best flavor, but the ready-made low-sodium stuff will work in a pinch.
Without further ado, I present:
Avgolemono (Greek Egg-Lemon Soup)
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated, along with some tried-and-true tips from Allspicery all-star Martie.
- meat from 1 rotisserie chicken, cut into 1/2" cubes
- 2 quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade (see Instant Pot recipe below)
- 1 1/3 C white rice
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 green cardamom pods
- 1 pinch saffron (~1/4 tsp)
- zest from 2 lemons, in thick 1" strips
- 1/4 C lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp table salt (or to taste)
- 2 large eggs + 2 yolks at room temperature
- 1 large scallion, thinly sliced
Bring chicken stock to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add chicken, rice, bay leaf, cardamom, lemon zest, saffron* and salt. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until rice is tender and stock is aromatic from lemon zest (~16-20 mins). Remove and discard bay leaf, cardamom and lemon zest. Increase heat to high and return stock to boil, then reduce heat to low.
Whisk eggs, yolks and remaining lemon juice lightly in medium nonreactive bowl until combined. Whisking constantly, slowly ladle ~2 C of hot stock into the egg mixture and whisk until combined. Pour egg/stock mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until soup is slightly thickened and wisps of steam appear (4-5 mins). Do not simmer or boil.
Divide soup among serving bowls and sprinkle with scallions. Serve immediately.
*Pro tip: If possible, "bloom" your saffron by soaking in 1 T of the lemon juice for about 20-30 mins. This will allow a deeper saffron flavor to develop. If you don't have time for this (I did it while I waited for the chicken stock to finish), you can just toss it in dry with the chicken, rice and other ingredients.
Easy Instant Pot Chicken Stock
- bones from 1 rotisserie chicken
- 1 onion, quartered
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 sprig each of various fresh herbs (sage, thyme, rosemary, etc.)
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 10 whole peppercorns
- 1-2 carrots
- 1-2 stalks celery
- 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
Turn the Instant Pot on to Sauté mode. Add the carcass pieces, onion and garlic and sauté until onion is soft and slightly translucent (2-3 minutes).
Add remaining ingredients, along with 8 cups of water. Lock the lid into place, close the steam release valve and press "Manual." The display will show 30 minutes.
Once the pot has reached high pressure, the display will begin to count down 30 minutes. When the time is up, it will beep and switch to "keep warm" mode. Press "Cancel" and allow the pressure to reduce naturally or manually open the steam release valve with a cloth towel to expedite the process.
Strain ingredients thoroughly. Stock can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for longer storage.