Sunday, February 27, 2011

Avgolemono Soup

So, Ahnalin has been begging for her favorite soup.

She was sick with a fever the last several days
and always asks for Avgolemono soup when
she doesn't feel good. 

I find this so funny, because my favorite 
"sick soup" is Hot and Sour soup. 
But then, we ARE a
Greek/Chinese/Scandinavian/European family 
by birth and adoption.

Now, I will be honest here, and tell you that this is how I make
this soup.  You CAN start
with a whole chicken and make the broth and 
use the chicken meat in the soup. 
And it is REALLY GOOD that way.

But more often than not, I make it the way I am 
going to show you.
You can even use canned broth if you are short 
on time. 


Ahnalin is sitting on the heater vent under the
lamp table.

before I tell you how to make the soup,
I will tell you how I make broth.

I always start my broth the day before I plan to make soup.

Don calls it "garbage broth",
because I save all kinds of chicken,
beef and pork bones, 
along with leftover chunks of veggies,
in Ziplock baggies in my freezer. 

So, when I was preparing the chicken from
I put the neck, excess fat and skin,
and giblets into a baggie 
and froze them.
I even saved the lemons and onions
that were baked in the Chicken cavity.

When I knew I was going to make soup,
I grabbed all those little baggies I had been stashing
in the freezer and dumped them into my stockpot.
I quartered an onion and cut up an unpeeled 
carrot, 2 stocks of celery, and
several cloves of garlic
and threw them in too.
I poured in water to fill about halfway 
or three quarters of the stock pot. 
I throw in a tablespoon or so of salt
and tablespoon or so of peppercorns,
as well as some basil, lemon peels
and whatever I feel like throwing in that day.

I bring the pot to a boil and then turn it down low
to simmer the rest of the day. 
I add water as necessary. 
If I am going to be gone, 
throw I it all in the crock pot and let it cook all day.

When I am done cooking the broth,
I strain it through a sieve (which is what lots 
of people call me!).
If you don't have a sieve, put a clean,
plain dish towel in your colander and 
and put it over another pot, and 
pour the broth through it.
Throw out all the solids.
Then, if it is a cold night, I cover the pot tightly
of broth and sit it in the garage or out on the back porch
to cool all night.
If it is a warm night, then I turn off the burner a few

hours before bed so the pot can start cooling and 
then put it in the fridge. 
In the morning, I bring in that pot and skim off the
coagulated fat and throw it away.

And now the broth is ready to use right away,
or freeze for later.

Avgolemono Soup
(remember, this is just how I do it)

About 2 quarts of chicken broth (or more)
1/2 cup of rice or orzo pasta
3 eggs
2 lemons
Salt to taste

(If you have any leftover cooked rice
or chicken in your fridge
or freezer, like I often do, you can throw them in as well.)

Bring your broth to a boil and throw in your
rice or orzo.
While you are waiting for the rice or orzo to cook,
grab a clean small-medium mixing bowl and
crack your eggs into it.
Whisk those eggs until they are frothy
Now, juice your lemons. If you want
to zest them before you juice them, 
you can save the zest to garnish the soup.
Now, get back to your whisking, and gradually
pour in the fresh lemon juice.

When your rice or orzo pasta is tender, you 
are ready to start the most delicate part of this soup.
But, you are within minutes of serving it!

Scoop out about 2 or 3 cups of the hot broth.
Sometimes I just ladle it into a glass
measuring cup with a pour spout.
While whisking the egg/lemon mixture,
VERY GRADUALLY ladle or pour the hot broth
into the egg/lemon mixture. 

DO NOT- I REPEAT- DO NOT (!!!!!) do it the 
other way around. 
If you pour the egg/lemon mixture into the hot broth,
it will be more like the texture
of egg drop soup, not creamy and smooth.

When you have the broth whisked into the egg/lemon
mixture, you can now gradually whisk
THAT broth/egg/lemon into the rest of the broth.
Now you can heat the soup up for 
an additional 5-10 minutes on VERY LOW HEAT. 

You can garnish it with lemon zest if you want,
and then salt and pepper to taste. 
I don't add any more seasoning to mine,
sometimes I will add a dash of hot sauce if I am in the mood.
(Remember, I like hot and sour.)

Pour it into mugs or bowls and serve with a
salad and bread.

So, that's it. Once you learn the whisking 
technique, it is easy and so fast!