cooking minette’s greek lemon soup (agvolemono style)

i know it’s getting to be too hot for soup, but in thinking about a nice dinner to make my husband happy the other night i remembered the agvolemono soup from his favorite greek restaurant. when i first moved to san diego over twenty years ago the food  (restaurant) scene was quite different (as in  extremely limited). the city has thankfully grown gastronomically speaking and otherwise by leaps and bounds, and we could not be happier to witness (and taste) the difference. back then, almost every time we wanted to eat out, my husband would suggest the local greek restaurant where he would promptly order the agvolemono soup to start with. although it’s been so long since our last visit (in fact the restaurant is no longer there), i still remember the flavor and creamy texture of the delicious lemon chicken soup, and thought it was time to recreate a lighter version at home.  as we finally sat around the table to enjoy the deliciously familiar soup we reminisced about our first years together. funny how a bowl of soup can bring back so many great memories!
for 4-6 servings:
  • 1 onion, finely minced (for broth)
  • 1 small organic chicken
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 5-6 cups water
  • 6-7 stalks of (organic) celery, cubed (i like more vegetables, adjust if you want less)
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled & cubed (same size as celery)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup long grain brown rice
  • 2 eggs (1 whole, 1 yolk only)
  • 2 lemons, freshly juiced (about 1/4 of a cup, more or less, depending on how sour you like it)
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2-3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded cooked chicken-optional  (from the whole chicken above used to make the broth)
1. begin by making the chicken broth  (add chicken, onions, bay leaves, sea salt, & pepper, water to a heavy pot or dutch oven-see recipe/method).
2. remove the chicken from the broth when the meat pulls away from the bone easily, set aside to cool. add the rice to the broth and bring to a boil, reduce heat and allow the rice to cook until very tender and almost creamy. while the rice is cooking sautee (quickly stir fry in olive oil) the carrots and celery, then add to the soup (after the rice has cooked for about 20 minutes).
3. when the soup is nice and creamy, taste, adjust salt & pepper, remove bay leaves, turn off the heat-then whisk the lemon juice and eggs together in a small bowl. whisk one ladle of hot soup into the lemon juice & egg mixture (adding it slowly so the egg does not curdle), repeat this process with another two ladles of hot soup, then add the mixture back to the pot of soup while whisking. this will make the soup look creamy and cloudy. taste and adjust seasoning/lemon juice.
4. add the cooked shredded chicken to the soup and serve right away with some chopped parsley as garnish.
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