Greek lemon & egg chicken soup

Greek lemon & egg chicken soup

Called avgolemono (ah-vgo-le-mono), this Greek soup is a knock-out in the winter and can be made in less than 30 minutes. The combination of simply chicken broth, lemon, and egg makes a cream-like soup that’s easy to build upon with more vegetables and herbs, like winter cabbage, potatoes, carrots, and parsley.

File this under peak nourishment. 

Are you feeling under the weather? Have this soup. Just had a baby? Have this soup. Trying to get pregnant? Have this soup. Not feeling great? Have this soup. Feeling great and want to keep it going? Again and again—have this soup!

Something I’ve always loved about tomato soup is the acidity that comes from the tomato fruit. That zesty, tanginess is something I crave, and so I’m constantly adding vinegar and lemon to my food.

So when someone in the holistic health space recently recommended this soup to me (after bonding over our shared connection to Greece), I immediately went home and started trying to whip it up.

I will be honest and say the first attempt ended up with more of an egg-drop soup sort of look (though still delicious), but from the second go on I was cooking! Quite actually, I was cooking my new favourite soup.

And since I’ve been making it for lunches now all throughout the winter, I feel it’s time to share the recipe and tell you what I’ve learned.

Note: I also called in for Greek “mama” reinforcements, and had Maria—our dear family friend and producer in Crete—weigh in with her tips so I could be sure I was sharing something authentic with y’all…

Here's the method:

Serves 4-6

  • Heat a small bit of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in the base vegetables, such as the carrots, celery, onions (sofrito style here) and saute up. If you like garlic, you can throw this in a minute or two later.
  • Add the broth and bay leaves to the pot and wait for it to boil.
  • Once it’s boiling, add in the rice and a bit of salt and pepper.
  • Turn down the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, depending on when your rice gets tender.
  • Now for the fun part: the lemon-egg sauce. In medium-sized bowl, whisk together the egg with fresh-squeezed lemon juice.
  • Then, while still whisking, add in a ladle filled with the broth from the pot. Do this again one or two times, so that you’ve added 2-3 ladles of broth to the lemon-egg mix to help temper it before adding to the pot. It’s important to keep whisking the mix while you pour in the broth.
  • Now, add in the bowl of sauce to the soup pot and stir.
  • If there’s any other veg, herbs, or protein you want to add—now is your time. You could do cooked chicken, or maybe more greens like I did with cabbage, or more carbs like I also did with potatoes.
  • Garnish with some herbs like parsley or basil.
  • Drizzle Citizens of Soil olive oil over the top.
Tips from Maria:
  • “Before you pour this whole mixture back in the pan, use a strainer. That will keep the foam from the eggs out of the food and avoid the white solid small parts in the food.
  • I also add small pieces of the lemon in mine, like we do in the salad (she minds thin slicing the rind, which we do love in our cabbage and green winter salads). 
  • It works best with chicken—especially the fatty one.
  • And not too much rice, because it gets too thick!
Ways to make your own:
  • Add any fresh herbs or spices you have on hand.
  • A little bit of chilli or chilli flakes could spruce things up!
  • Top everything with toasted sesame seeds or fried garlic flakes.

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