Thanks to my dad’s Greek heritage, my mom learned how to make a number of traditional Greek dishes. This one was what was offered whenever my brother and I got sick. And let me tell you, it blows regular chicken soup out of the water. Thickened with egg, this soup somehow manages to be both rich and light, made that much more so with traditionally Mediterranean herbs like oregano and plenty of lemon, which adds a much-needed acidic lift to the broth, juicy pieces of chicken, and rice.
TIPS & TRICKS
Whipped egg whites might seem like an unorthodox addition to chicken soup, but they create a luxuriously creamy broth. The eggs will foam and puff as they are stirred into the hot broth—don’t worry, that’s normal and it will subside as they cook.
The broth for this soup can be made and used anywhere broth is called for in this book. To make a batch of broth to freeze, cook as directed in steps 1 and 2. Save the chopped meat for chicken salad or meals throughout the week. To deepen the broth’s flavor, add the chicken bones back to the strained broth, cover the pot, and simmer covered on low for another hour. Strain again and discard the bones. The broth can then be transferred to freezer containers and frozen for up to 6 months.
Avgolemono (Greek Chicken Soup)
For the Chicken Broth
- 1 (3- to 5-pound/1.3 to 2.2kg) whole chicken
- 1 white onion, peeled and quartered
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 10 whole black peppercorns
- A few sprigs of fresh oregano
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 bay leaf
For the Soup
- 1 cup (180g) long grain white rice
- 4 large eggs
- 2/3 cup (160ml) lemon juice (from about 4 large lemons)
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving
- Thin lemon slices, for serving
- Fresh oregano leaves, for serving
Make the Chicken Broth
- In a large stockpot, add the chicken, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, peppercorns, oregano sprigs, salt, and bay leaf. Cover with 4 quarts of water and set the pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through, skimming the top of the broth occasionally to remove any foam.
- Set a large fine mesh sieve or a colander lined with cheesecloth over a large bowl. Use tongs to transfer the chicken to a rimmed sheet pan to cool. Strain the broth through the sieve and discard the vegetables and herbs. Return the broth back to the pot.
- When the chicken is cool enough to handle, separate the meat from the bones. Cut the meat into small pieces and discard the skin and bones.
Make the Soup
- Return the stockpot of broth to medium heat and bring to a simmer. Stir in the rice and cook for 20 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken.
- Separate the eggs over a large bowl to catch the whites and add the yolks to a separate bowl. With an electric hand mixer on medium speed, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, about 4 minutes. Add the egg yolks and beat just until combined.
- Reduce the heat to low. Stirring constantly, very slowly add the beaten eggs to the broth. The eggs will get puffy as they are added to the broth— just keep stirring! Once all the eggs are added to the pot, slowly stir in the lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Continue simmering, stirring frequently, until the soup is very creamy and the foam has subsided, about 15 minutes. Serve bowls of the soup topped with a thin slice of lemon, fresh oregano leaves, and more black pepper.