Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Avgolemono-Greek Chicken Soup with Lemon & Egg

My husband took me to his family's steakhouse on one of our first dates and I ordered their famous "Quail Soup" which was really a traditional Greek avgolemono soup garnished with quail and red bell pepper for a "Texas Twist".  I could have devoured a gallon of the stuff! It is rich and creamy and has a bright lemon flavor and the perfect comfort dish for a chilly night.  I'm very fortunate that my mother in law showed me how to make the soup and it's really not hard at all if you are just patient and slow while tempering the eggs. You can use a homemade stock, or just a good quality kind like Pacific naturals or Imagine brand. The whole thing can be put together in about 25 minutes. I suggest adding the cornstarch as it does help stabilize the soup and makes reheating a snap (in a double boiler to prevent curdling- never boil the soup after adding the lemon/egg sauce).

makes four hearty servings
49 oz chicken broth
1/2 cup Orzo or long grain white rice for a gluten free option
Juice of 3 lemons
1 dried bay leaf (my addition- makes it richer tasting)
4 eggs
1/2 tsp corn starch mixed into 1 tbs cold water
OPTIONAL: Shredded chicken and sauteed bell peppers and chopped sauteed onions could be added along with the lemon/egg sauce. Makes it very hearty and more like the restaurant's soup (or you could add quail meat too!)

Bring broth to boil and add orzo. Cook for about 9 minutes until orzo is cooked and then remove from heat.

Remove one cup of broth and allow it to cool a few minutes until lukewarm.

Meanwhile, in a bowl beat eggs and lemon juice until foamy.  Stirring constantly, slowly add the lukewarm broth to the egg mixture to temper them and keep them from curdling.

Then, VERY SLOWLY add the egg/broth mixture back into to the soup on medium low heat stirring constantly until soup thickens (This is when you add the cornstarch if you like).

Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately. Garnish with fresh herbs such as pasley, dill, thyme or oregano. The francophile in me likes Tarragon (or would I be a belgophile since I'm half Belgian??) Tonight we did roasted bell pepper and fresh lemon thyme. Served with toasted pita and salad for the perfect weeknight dinner!

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