Sunday, March 20, 2016

It's all (deliciously) Greek to me

Many years ago, when working downtown for a global health nonprofit, my friend Jeanne came into the office one afternoon with the most divine smelling takeout container ever. Rich, lemony, chicken aromas wafted through the office as my colleague strolled past my desk with her pint of soup from the Greek deli around the corner.

This was my first encounter with avgolemono soup, and it was love at first scent. I believe this was in 2006. I've been in love with this soup for ten years. And just tonight, I perfected making it.

Oh, there were some bumps along the way. Nothing ever ended up being completely inedible, mind you, just odd textural disasters that I did not foist on dining companions. I ate lots of that over the years. But tonight's velvety, lemony victory was pure bliss. And a good thing, too: what's this freezing rain coming down on the first day of spring? Did Mother Nature not get the memo?

I think the secret to tonight's gustatory awesomeness was the homemade chicken broth (where I usually used delicious but definitely different veggie stock). And the fact that I kept the heat low enough while cooking was key for tempering the egg yolks. Upon reflection, I suspect that the latter is where I strayed during earlier batches. Live and learn.

Right. You want the recipe, eh? Well, here you go:

Easy Avgolemono Soup for Two
(or for one, with leftovers)


  • 1 TBSP butter + a good glug of olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 2 handfuls cooked brown rice
  • 1-2 handfuls shredded, cooked chicken (optional - I had some left from making stock)
  • 1 quart or more of good chicken stock, warmed
  • 2-3 cups freshly chopped spinach
  • Juice from 2 lemons
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Salt and pepper


Saute the onion in butter/olive oil until soft.

Toss in the garlic, rice, and chicken bits and stir well.

Add the chicken stock, spinach, and lemon juice, and simmer over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. (Don't bring it anywhere close to a boil! This is where I went amiss...repeatedly... usually when I was starving and trying to make this soup quickly and thus ended up with lemony eggdrop soup.)

In a small, heat-proof container, beat egg yolks. While whisking, slowly dribble about 1/4 cup of the warm soup broth into the yolks. Then slowly whisk in another 1/4 cup. And another. Now you're ready to slowly whisk the tempered egg/broth mixture back into the main soup pot. So whisk it, carefully, and over low heat.

Taste, then add salt and pepper as needed.

Voila! Your velvety, lemony, nourishing pot of deliciousness is ready for immediate consumption in less than 20 minutes from start to finish.

Now I just need to find a charming, single Greek man who can appreciate my cooking skills.... Know anyone?

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