Jan 22, 2019

Greek Lemon-Egg Chicken Soup (Avgolemono)

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr
Homemade chicken broth is seasoned with lemon juice and thickened with eggs and served with shredded chicken and orzo for a simple yet comforting soup.

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In this avgolemono recipe, homemade chicken broth is seasoned with lemon juice and thickened with eggs and served with shredded chicken and orzo for a simple yet comforting soup. The Greek term avgolemono refers to the sauce-like mixture of the eggs with the lemon and chicken broth. While this version of the recipe is based on the Greek iteration of lemon and egg soup there are other versions in Arab, Turkish and Jewish cuisines.

Greek Lemon-Egg Chicken Soup (Avgolemono)

Tempering Eggs

The eggs are incorporated using ‘tempering”, a cooking technique where the cold or room temperature ingredient is slowly and steadily raised by incorporating hot liquid. In this case it keeps the eggs from curdling when being added to the soup – the goal isn’t egg drop soup! Tempering the soup may seem like a daunting task but the result is a creamy, silky soup that is sure to bring warmth to the chilliest of winter days.

whole chicken stock cooking with cocktail rings

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Whole chicken – I love cooking a chicken whole because it’s significantly less expensive than buying multiple of one cut. There are so many opportunities to use the leftover meat from the chicken. The whole chicken is cooked with aromatics and water to create the base of this soup. The meat is then shredded and served in the thickened broth.
  • Lemon – The main flavor profile of this avgolemono soup is lemon. It complements the homemade broth and brings a bright flavor to this recipe.
  • Orzo – Orzo, also known as risoni, is a small, short pasta shape. It’s a pasta shaped like large grains of rice.
Greek Lemon-Egg Chicken Soup (Avgolemono)  cooking with cocktail rings

How to Make Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

  1. Simmer the chicken. First, place the whole chicken in a large (7-quart) Dutch oven with the onion, carrots, celery, bay leaves and peppercorns. Next, cover with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Then, lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered until the chicken is cooked through, about 45 minutes.
  2. Shred the chicken and strain broth. Remove the chicken to a cutting board and let cool. Shred the chicken and set aside. Add the bones back to the pot and continue to cook for an additional hour, uncovered. Strain the broth into a large mixing bowl and discard the bones, vegetables and aromatics. Season the broth to taste with salt.
  3. Cook the orzo. Return the strained broth to the Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the orzo and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Set aside 2 cups of the broth. Add ¾ pound of the shredded chicken to the soup (reserve the rest for another use).
  4. Whisk the eggs. Add the eggs to a medium bowl and whisk until frothy and the eggs fall in ribbons. Next, slowly add the lemon juice while continuing to whisk.
  5. Temper the eggs. Temper the eggs by slowly adding the reserved chicken broth in a thin stream. Add the egg/ broth mixture to the pot, stirring to combine. Cook until the soup thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Do not let the mixture come back to a boil.
  6. Serve. Ladle into warmed soup bowls. Garnish with lemon slices, cracked black pepper and dill and serve hot.
Greek Lemon-Egg Chicken Soup (Avgolemono) 

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe

  • While the homemade chicken broth really makes this soup, if you are in a rush or taking a sick day and are looking for a quick fix, then use eight cups of store-bought chicken stock (some butchers make their own high-quality broth and sell it) and shred some rotisserie chicken.
  • If reheating this soup, add it to a saucepot and bring to a simmer, not a boil, over medium heat, adding a bit of water if necessary.
Greek Lemon-Egg Chicken Soup (Avgolemono) recipe from Cooking with Cocktail Rings

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this avgolemono recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Greek Lemon-Egg Chicken Soup (Avgolemono)  closeup

Greek Lemon-Egg Chicken Soup (Avgolemono)

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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 (3½-pound) whole chicken
  • 1 large yellow onion, quartered
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • ½ cup dried orzo pasta
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Lemon slices, seeds removed, for garnish
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, for garnish
  • Fresh dill, for garnish

Instructions:

  • Place the whole chicken in a large (7-quart) Dutch oven with the onion, carrots, celery, bay leaves and peppercorns. Cover with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered until the chicken is cooked through, about 45 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken to a cutting board and let cool. Shred the chicken and set aside. Add the bones back to the pot and continue to cook for an additional hour, uncovered. Strain the broth into a large mixing bowl and discard the bones, vegetables and aromatics. Season the broth to taste with salt.
  • Return the strained broth to the Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the orzo and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Set aside 2 cups of the broth. Add ¾ pound of the shredded chicken to the soup (reserve the rest for another use).
  • Add the eggs to a medium bowl and whisk until frothy and the eggs fall in ribbons. Slowly add the lemon juice while continuing to whisk.
  • Temper the eggs by slowly adding the reserved chicken broth in a thin stream. Add the egg/ broth mixture to the pot, stirring to combine. Cook until the soup thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Do not let the mixture come back to a boil.
  • Ladle into warmed soup bowls. Garnish with lemon slices, cracked black pepper and dill and serve hot.

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