A Greek Recipe Favorite: Avgolemono Soup

Avgolemono Soup is one of my favorite traditional Greek recipes.  Otherwise known as egg-lemon soup, it becomes wonderfully creamy after frothy, beaten eggs are swirled into the broth.  My mom made this soup often when I was a child, and my Yiayia (grandmother) used to make it for dinner every Christmas Eve.  It used to be one of my favorite Christmas traditions, and I was so happy when Uncle Jimmy decided to bring the tradition back this year!  Avgolemono soup is the perfect winter meal, as it’s very comforting and hits the spot on a chilly day.

Fun fact:  If you are Armenian, you might know this soup as lemonov soup instead!  My roommate Katrina’s family is Armenian, and their family cookbooks have pretty much the same recipe.  I remember laughing so hard in our kitchen as we compared our family cookbooks a few years ago.  Greek and Armenian foods have many similarities!

Anyways, I’ve wanted to make Avgolemono soup on my own for a while now.  A few weeks ago, whole chickens were on sale at Stop & Shop, and I decided I would finally give it a whirl.  I knew Tim would be down for making this recipe with me, especially since I wanted to try making it with a whole chicken and its broth as opposed to buying a rotisserie and using canned chicken broth.  Remember when we saw a cooking demonstration of a whole chicken being cut up at the Boston Local Food Festival and then Tim was super excited to try it on his own?  I was right, he agreed right away.  🙂

A Greek Recipe Favorite:  Avgolemono Soup

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 8 cups of chicken broth – this can be canned broth or the broth from a whole chicken.
  • Whole Chicken – the chicken is optional, but I love the pieces in the soup!
  • 1 Cup Rice or Orzo – I used brown rice to make healthier.  My Auntie Tina says that if you do want to use a white rice, Carolina rice is the way to go because it’s a short grain rice.
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • Juice of 2 lemons – You can use regular lemon juice if you want
  • Salt
  • Ground Pepper

Directions

  1. If you want the chicken pieces in your soup, boil a whole chicken, cut up, in 9 cups of water for one hour.  This will be your broth.
  2. After the chicken pieces have boiled for an hour, take the chicken out of the pot and let cool.
  3. Bring the remaining broth to a boil, salt to taste, add the cup of rice, and simmer covered for 20 minutes.  When done, remove from heat.
  4. In the meantime, part A:  Remove the chicken from the bones, tear into small pieces.  Set aside.
  5. In the meantime, part B:  Slice up the lemons and put the juice in a bowl.  Set aside.
  6. In the meantime, part C:  Beat the egg whites until stiff in a bowl.  Set aside.
  7. When the broth is done simmering, measure out 2 cups of the bot chicken broth and set aside.  Helpful hint – place the chicken broth, lemon juice bowl, and egg yolks near each other because you need to work quickly during the next steps.
  8. Begin beating the egg whites again and simultaneously add the yolks and beat well.  Keep beating and slowly add the lemon juice to the eggs.  You are still beating continuously.  Then add 2 cups of the hot chicken broth (slowly!) to the mixture.  Do not stop beating!  This constant beating is the secret to prevent the egg from curdling.  You don’t want scrambled eggs in your soup!
  9. When the eggs and the broth are well mixed, pour this mixture back into the remaining broth and rice that are still on the stove.  Stir well, but do NOT allow to boil.  The soup will curdle if boiled.
  10. Add the small chicken pieces, stir well one last time.
  11. Serve at once in bowls, adding ground pepper if you wish.

Helpful Hint:  I find it easier to work with someone else on steps 8 & 9.  This way one person can make sure to constantly beat while the other does the pouring.

Some pictures for your viewing pleasure!

Tim in his chicken glory:

Me getting sour:

The rest of the experience:

The yummy end product:

Anyone else think soup is hard to photograph?  It just looks so boring.  I promise it’s not!

I enjoyed the soup for a leftover dinner last night and will probably have some more tonight.  I don’t think there is such thing as too much of it – I really could have it every day!

What’s your favorite kind of soup to make?  How about your favorite meal for a cold, chilly day?  Any family favorites of your own you’d like to share?

Excited (and a little nervous) for Two A Day Tuesday tonight!  Hope the new space works out!

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13 thoughts on “A Greek Recipe Favorite: Avgolemono Soup

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  2. hi athena this is Gayle from market basket and i am armenian so agree that greeks/armenians are similar with their foods. i love and cook only healthy meals etc.

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  8. Hi! I am starting a detox diet where I can only have brown rice and was just wondering if you could make avgo with it! How did it taste, was it obviously different than normal? Eggs, lemon and chicken are all on the OK list for this diet, just not the white rice.. thanks!!

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      • Thank you for the reply! I love brown rice so I will probably try this – but I have never heard of separating the eggs before! Do you know what the advantage of doing that is? It seems strange since you end up putting them together again anyway..

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