There is nothing better than a bowl of steaming kitchen soup on a cold winter night. Try this Greek chicken soup with rice and an egg-lemon sauce (avgolemono) and you are sure to go for seconds and even thirds! The extra bonus is that it is cheap and you can use those parts that you usually throw away. If you can manage to get a free-range chicken, this soup will be unforgettable. I made this soup with the free-range rooster I bought at the Central Market. You can see the photo in the relevant article.
Ingredients: 1 chicken, or parts of a chicken or carcass ½ – 1 cup rice 2 egg yolks Juice of 1 – 2 lemons, Salt, pepper
For the stock you can use a whole chicken, or any parts that you like. When I get chickens at a good price, I buy whole ones – as many as my freezer can hold at that time – and I separate the legs, breasts and wings and freeze them individually. The carcass that remains makes a beautiful soup! Or you can boil a whole chicken for about 10 minutes, proceed to make the soup with the stock and you can roast the chicken with some nice potatoes. If I don’t want to make a soup on the day I get the chickens, I put the carcasses in the freezer, and they are ready and waiting.
Boil the chicken, or parts for about 10 minutes or the carcass. If you are using the carcass, let it simmer for about one hour, so you get all the goodness out of the bones. Remove the foam that forms on top of the water at the beginning.
Add some salt and pepper.
Add a couple of tablespoonfuls of vinegar – it helps release the calcium from the bones of the bird.
Remove the bones from the stock. You should have about 2 – 3 litres of liquid. Add the rice and simmer. When the rice is soft, taste to adjust seasonings.
Separate the yolks from the egg whites. Keep the whites in the fridge for some other use, perhaps an omelet.
Beat the egg yolks lightly and slowly add the lemon juice. It depends on how sour you like your soup, how much you are making and the size of the lemons. Turn off the fire. Take a bit of the hot stock and pour it on the eggs, while you continue beating them. Add about 4 – 5 tablespoonfuls of stock. Now pour the eggs back in the pot. Stir gently. Taste the soup and if you feel that you need more lemon, you can add it now. You can accompany the soup with some crackers, bread and cheese. It is divine in its simplicity.
This soup is terribly easy to make, and you don’t have to follow exact recipes. Don’t add too much rice though, because then you will end up with a very nice pilaf.
If you boil the carcass to make stock, you can pick the meat that was stuck to the bones, freeze it and later use it in omelets or soup with veggies or even chicken pies.
The egg-lemon sauce is very popular inGreece, and it is used in many dishes. I will give you more recipes with this wonderful sauce that adds so much taste to a dish and is very versatile.