Greek Avgolemono....Lemon and Orzo Soup. I came upon this soup recipe some time ago... loved the simplicity of the ingredients used... eventually jotted down the recipe to try later.
I most always have homemade chicken stock in the freezer.... sometimes even turkey stock and beef stock. Chicken stock is much easier for me to make, as I use chicken meat more often in the dishes I make. I've learned years ago to never throw away any bones... not even from baked chicken. And when I have leftover turkey bones( from Thanksgiving, or other occasions), I'll split them up in bags, freeze them, and later pull them out to make stock. I most always have some carrots, onion, garlic, and celery... basic ingredients for making stock. Sometimes I'll toss in a couple of bay leaves to the pot... I much prefer homemade stock, as I can season to my liking.
It's become a ton easier to make the stock ever since I've started using a pressure cooker. What used to take me a couple of hours, now takes me 40 minutes using the pressure cooker. It's really easy to make...not to mention that nothing gets wasted. I simply add the bones with a few vegetables, cover with water, and season it with salt.... then I bring the stock to pressure and cook it while I do other things around the house. When it's done, I'll place the stock in ice cube trays.... for pan sauces.... in small 1 cup containers.... for soups.... and in 2 cup containers.... for risotto and other dishes.
In any case, this soup comes together rather quickly. It's a lighter sort of soup...no cream involved or half-and-half.... not even milk. The white color actually comes from the egg and lemon juice mixture. This soup is a play on the popular chicken noodle soup... except for the tart and fresh taste the lemon juice imparts to the dish....making it a bit different:). The orzo gives the soup extra body as well as great flavor. Actually the soup reminds me just a bit of the Romanian orez cu lapte we used to eat as kids... similar to a rice pudding.
While I kept the soup rather simple, other versions also use chunks of chicken for a heartier version....even cut up vegetables. Sometimes the orzo pasta is substituted with rice...making the soup gluten -free.
It's a lovely soup that can be used as a starter to any meal... I personally like to serve it in smaller portions, just because a little bit goes a long way. If you like, you can serve the soup as an amuse bousche... in espresso cups. But a big bowlful isn't bad either... as it can brighten a dreary and cloudy day:). Perfect for the winter months. Hope you enjoy...
Tip: Make the soup gluten-free, by using rice instead of orzo.
You will need:
4 cups chicken stock, homemade preferred
1/2 cup orzo pasta, or rice*
2-3 TBS lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 TBS fresh parsley or dill, chopped
salt/pepper, to taste
* if using rice, add 1 cup extra stock
1. In a large saucepan, add chicken stock and bring to a boil.... if using rice, add 1 cup more stock
2. Add orzo(or rice, if using) and cover. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.... if using rice, simmer for longer, 15+ minutes or until rice is tender.
3. Remove from heat(do not drain). Set aside.
4. Add eggs to a bowl and beat until thick. Whisk in lemon juice and zest.( it's best to start with 2 TBS and add remaining juice at the end, if you feel it needs it... this way, the sourness can be adjusted to preference.)
5. Gradually add 1/2 cup hot broth from the saucepan, whisking constantly.
6. Add 2 more 1/2 cups broth, whisking after each addition.
7. Pour mixture back into saucepan and reheat on low, stirring with a wooden spoon until egg cooks(the egg foam dissipates)... and the soup just slightly thickens. ....Do NOT boil or eggs will curdle.
8. Add salt and pepper to taste....and a bit of parsley(or dill).
9. Garnish with more parsley...or dill right before serving. You can even add a bit more lemon zest, if you like.
10 Serve hot in the winter...or cold in the summer.