Avgolemono soup, or Lemon and Egg Chicken Soup, is a Greek favorite. The addition of rice with a bit of spice lifts it up for a satisfying lunch or entrée.
Avgolemono is pronounced av-g(w)o-le-mono and means egg and lemon in Greek. It is a traditional Greek sauce that blends lemon juice with eggs and warm broth resulting in a delicious creamy and frothy sauce. This sauce gets blended into a chicken and rice soup.
Can’t live without the meat?
No worries. Most avgolemono soups include whole chicken that that is cooked in veggies and water over long hours to create the broth. The chicken gets shredded and added to the broth. To keep it quick and easy, use shredded rotisserie chicken, or leftover chicken, to this recipe adding it to the soup when you add the egg yolk mixture for a hearty and more satisfying meal.
Can I exchange the rice?
The short answer is, yes. The real question is, what texture do you want? If you want to keep the texture smooth and silky use a short or medium grain rice. Orzo is also often used as the starch base as well. Since I am only using chicken broth (no meat), I am using long grain rice to give the dish some texture. Just remember to cook the rice in the broth, not separately, this imparts even more flavor. Do not use instant rice as it will turn to mush before the cooking time ends and pulling the stew off the heat early will not allow for the flavors to absorb into the rice.
Spice or no spice?
Traditionally you would not add any spicy heat to this dish. Its uniqueness comes from the tangy bite in the lemon-egg sauce. I stumbled on the spicy kick by accident. I wanted to add a bit of color to the bowl. Our specially blended Cajun Seasoning was on hand, so, I sprinkled it on top. Then something magical happened. The heat in the spice took out the bite of the lemon and the tang of the lemon tamed the heat in the spice. Like a great partnership, the two complemented each other and now I cannot have this soup without the spicy kick.
Spicy Lemon Chicken Soup
- 3¾ cups chicken stock
- 1/3 cup long grain rice soaked and drained
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 – 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Lemon slices and parsley springs to garnish
- Pour the stock into a saucepan and bring to a low simmer over medium heat. Add the drained rice, half cover the pan with a lid and continue cooking for 18 – 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Season with salt and pepper.
- Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl, then add 2 tablespoons lemon juice to the yolks, whisking constantly until the mixture is smooth and bubbly.
- Transfer 1 ladle of the hot rice stock to a blender. You need to temper the eggs. That means that you add the egg mixture to the warm broth gradually so that you don’t cook the eggs. With the blender running slowly add the egg mixture and puree until smooth.
- Remove the stock and rice from the heat and gradually add the egg puree, whisking constantly. The soup will turn a lemon color and will thicken slightly.
- Taste the soup and add more lemon juice if you desire a tangier soup. Stir in the parsley. Serve the soup immediately, without reheating, garnished with lemon slices, parsley springs, and Cajun seasoning, if desired.