Tuesday 6 November 2012

Soupa Avgolemono - Egg and Lemon Soup

OK, I know the English translation doesn't sound very appealing, but bear with me. This is one of my favourite soups. It has been since I was a little kid - and I am sure my mother would confirm that I wasn't the easiest of children when it came to food. I seem to remember eating a variety of things (though not too much meat), but I just didn't eat much of anything, other than gallons of milk. And it wasn't even fresh milk I drank (we didn't get much good fresh milk in Greece in the 80's). I drank evaporated milk, often undiluted, because I liked it so much! Yuck!

Having just described my milk habits as a child, I am not sure I would trust my sense of taste in regards to this soup either, but it does work! The principle of avgolemono (egg/lemon) is very common in Greece and is also used as a sauce for meatballs, stuffed vegetables and other things. The lemon gives the flavour and the egg acts like a thickening agent.

Serves 4

2.5 litres of light chicken or fish stock (this shouldn't be a heavily reduced stock - it should still be watery, but with good flavour of fish or chicken)
1 small cup of rice, long grain (this varies according to your preference for the thickness of the soup - the more rice, the thicker the soup)
2 eggs
juice of 2 lemons

To make the stock from scratch you add 1-2 carrots, 1-2 onions, a bay leaf, peppercorns and some fish or chicken bones to 2.5 litres of water and simmer for 30min -2 hours (the more the better). Add seasoning.

Once the stock is prepared, add the rice to the stock and simmer for around 15 minutes, or until the rice is cooked. You then whisk the eggs in a bowl thoroughly and with a ladle add some of the hot soup to the egg. Add the liquid slowly and whisk continuously, so that the egg doesn't split. Keep adding liquid slowly, until you have about 5-6 ladle-fulls added to the eggs. You then add the egg mixture to the soup (again, slowly, while continuously stirring, so that the soup doesn't split). Turn the heat off and add the lemon juice gradually, while tasting it. It should have a strong lemony flavour, but not be overpowering.

Serve with bread and enjoy.

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