Thursday, January 26, 2012

Soupa Avgolemono (Egg & Lemon Soup)

One of the things that I have always enjoyed at Greek restaurants is the egg and lemon soup (though I didn't know there was egg involved until I came across this recipe). So when I came across Soupa Avgolemono in the Easy Menu Ethnic Cookbook "Cooking the Greek Way" (best cookbook series ever; check your local library), I knew that I had to make it. The best part of all? I had all the ingredients already sitting around my kitchen!

First, I had to bring 4 cups of chicken broth to boil in my large saucepan. This should have been easy, but I discovered that I only had enough condensed chicken broth packets to make one cup of chicken broth (or two because this stuff is pretty strong). I went ahead and boiled the four cups of water with the one packet of broth anyway because at that point I didn't have much choice in the matter. I had spent the entire day driving around in a car and that last thing I wanted to do was venture out for some chicken broth.

Once the broth was bubbling, I added 1/3 cup of uncooked rice. I used the brown basmati rice from Trader Joe's, which is about the only brown rice I will eat because it actually has a good flavor. Generally, I far more enjoy white rice, preferably short grain, which is not easily come by for some stupid reason, however, I was trying to give brown rice a chance because it supposed to be healthier. (I am unconvinced.)

While the rice was cooking in the chicken broth, pan mostly covered since I don't actually have a lid large enough to completely cover that pan, I turned to the rest of the recipe. Into a tiny casserole dish (it's what I had available), I cracked two eggs and beat them together with 4 tablespoons of lemon juice using a wire whisk.

When the rice was cooked, I turned off the heat under the broth and slowly ladled some broth into the lemony egg mixture while constantly whisking so the hot broth wouldn't curdle the eggs. The recipe calls to add two cups of broth, but it was easier for me to just ladle until the mixture seemed very thoroughly blended, the pan of broth had cooled, and the stuff in the casserole dish had warmed to almost room temperature.

I then poured the eggy-lemony-broth mixture to the pan of broth and rice, adding it slowly and whisking it all the while. When I was satisfied that it was properly blended, I turned the burner back on to medium-low and stirred the soup constantly while it reheated so as to not end up with chunks of egg floating around inside.

The first taste test was a bit thin. It probably would have benefited from more chicken broth, but it was too late for that, and I still wasn't running to the store, so I added a few dashes of celery salt and garlic salt, which added more flavor than I thought, though if I hadn't known I had added them, I never would have guessed by tasting the soup alone.

For a main dish, I ended up cooking a couple of chicken breasts on the stove sprinkled with garlic powder, celery salt, and lemon pepper blend. They went very well with the soup, I thought, though Kimmy was unprepared for the soup's lemonyness.

One thing I forgot to do when serving the soup was sprinkle parsley on top, and I am very disappointed in myself for this. I love parsley!! Ah, well. I'll remember when I eat the leftovers. I hope you enjoyed this installment of Greek appetizers. See you next week!

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