Avgolemono is the classic Greek rendition of chicken soup, with bright lemons, filling chicken and rice, and rich and creamy soup thanks to a few fresh eggs.
I miss the Winter weather, y'all. You may think it's wonderful to live in perpetual summer, but I'd love to swap with you. I miss the fall and winter.
Unless you live in Greenland or Antarctica or something. You can have that, I'm okay.
We finally had a little cold snap after the hottest February on record, and I knew I needed to make some soup before the weather heats back up.
Avgolemono is also the name of a sauce that uses lemon and egg, but here we're talking about the Greek rendition of chicken soup. Every Greek friend I've talked to, when I bring up avgolemono, their faces light up. This is a Greek grandma's best kept cold buster, much like chicken noodle soup here in America. This will clear up the sniffles, fill the tummies, and use up all those in-season lemons!
Because Brian's not much of a soup person, he adds rice or potatoes or something to them, which is why avgolemono is perfect: It's a soup thickened by both rice and by eggs, like the liason made in French chicken fricassee. It doesn't taste eggy at all, I promise. It simply gives it a thickness and richness that is so comforting.
Best tips on making avgolemono soup:
I prefer a roasted chicken broth ( I have a homemade recipe that I love so much and keep in the freezer year round! ) over regular chicken broth because it brings a deeper, richer flavor. Also, make sure your chicken broth is low sodium, so you can control the saltiness of your soup. No one wants a super salty soup.
To make this as quick and easy as possible, use leftover chicken! Or a rotisserie chicken. I love taking leftover chicken and re-purposing it for a delicious new meal, because I have two very picky guys who don't like leftovers.
If you don't have any leftovers, you can simply chop up some chicken thighs and add them to the broth for about 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. I say chicken thighs because chicken thighs hold up to soup cooking better than white meat. And finding boneless skinless chicken thighs are much cheaper than breasts.
Fresh and in season right now! I love using the zest and juice of the lemons, because they are such an important part of avgolemono. There's no lemono without lemons. A great tip to get all the juice out is to microwave the lemons, and use a citrus juicer. Also, for the zest I use my favorite citrus zester instead of a micrograter, it makes curly little strips that are so cute.
Fresh eggs. Period. Yes, the eggs do cook in the soup, but still, don't take the chance with old (talking about 2 weeks+ old) eggs. To make sure the soup doesn't clump up, we temper the eggs, or bring them up to the same hot temperature as the soup by spooning some of the broth into the eggs and whisking vigorously in a bowl. Very important step, so don't skip it!
Some recipes call for orzo pasta, but if you know pasta, it tends to turn kinda gummy if it sits in soup. It also doesn't thicken the soup like rice does, so I love the rice in the soup. If you are going to halve the recipe or only making a small amount and it'll be eaten ASAP, go for the orzo and see if you like it.
Classic garlic and onion are the flavor base here, but dill and oregano work wonders in avgolemono, too. Experiment, guys! So many people said their grandma adds extra pepper to their soup, and as a pepper lover, I am so there.
I am convinced that a single bowl of avgolemono soup can heal up coughs and colds in a snap, it's a great chicken noodle soup alternative. It soothes the soul, and will keep you warm until spring!
Need to use up all those lemons in your kitchen? Check out:
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- 2 tbsp regular olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced finely
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 3 cup cooked chicken thighs, shredded or cut into bite-sized cubes
- 2-3 cups cooked long grain rice
- 2 lemons, juice and zest
- 3 large eggs
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat a large pot or dutch oven with olive oil and onions. Saute for 3-5 minutes until translucent, then add garlic and lemon zest and let cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Don’t let garlic burn.
Add in chicken stock, let come to a simmer, and add chicken and cooked rice.
In a medium bowl, crack in eggs and add lemon juice, whisk vigorously. Gradually pour in a cup of the hot chicken broth, whisking constantly to temper the eggs.
Turn heat off on the large pot, add tempered eggs and broth, stirring in well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
At this point, you could take an immersion blender to the soup to blend the soup into a smoother texture.
Serve while hot. Never let soup boil.
To reheat, heat on the stove top over medium low heat, stirring occasionally to ensure the eggs don’t scramble and the soup doesn’t burn on the bottom.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 409Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 148mgSodium: 198mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 26g
Eden Westbrook is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Sweet Tea and Thyme. A classically trained chef, Eden has inspired home cooks into the kitchen with cultural comfort foods, easy family-friendly eats and sweets, and glorious spreads for date night and entertaining since 2015.