As a new resident of St. Louis, I’m proud to announce that I’ve officially experienced my first real winter. Yes-you read that right. At 27, I’m just learning how to clear snow off my car with an ice scraper and that paying an exorbitant fee for garage parking might be worth it here in the Midwest. On days when I’m trying to keep warm under countless layers of clothing and walking like a penguin to prevent myself from slipping on the ice, I crave a steaming hot bowl of soup more than ever. And although I consider myself an across-the-board soup lover, Chicken Avgolemono is my favorite.
If you’re not familiar with this traditional Greek soup, you’ve been missing out. Think of a homemade chicken and rice soup topped with a light lemony froth. This Avgolemono (literally: egg-lemon) froth requires minimal effort and is what makes this soup unique.
Tip: After making a large pot of this soup, I decided to freeze the leftovers in mason jars. If you’re not serving a large group, this is a good way to stock up for days when you want soup, but don’t have the time to make it. If you decide to do this, make sure you allow the soup to cool completely before pouring it into mason jars which will prevent the glass from cracking in the freezer.
CHICKEN AVGOLEMONO SOUP
1 whole chicken
2 large carrots, peeled and halved
2 large pieces of celery, halved
1 small onion, quartered
3/4 cup white rice, uncooked
2 lemons, juiced
Remove any organs that may be inside the chicken and rinse thoroughly. Place chicken, celery, carrots and onion in a large stock pot and fill with enough water to cover the chicken by approximately one inch. Place lid on pot and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 45-50 minutes. Using a large spoon, skim away and dispose of any fat that rises to the top of the pot. Once the meat of the chicken easily pulls away from the bone, the chicken is ready. Carefully remove the chicken, celery, carrot and onion from the pot placing in a separate dish.
Add uncooked rice, salt and pepper to the stockpot. Simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Cut up chicken and carrot into desired size and add back to stock pot.
Beat eggs and lemon juice in a bowl on high for approximately 5 minutes or until frothy. Slowly pour one cup of hot broth into the Avgolemono mixture as you continue beating. This step serves to gradually increase the temperature of the egg-lemon mixture so that the eggs don’t curdle as they’re added to the hot soup.
Slowly pour the Avgolemono into the pot of soup while stirring. Serve with additional lemon wedges.