Avgolemono is a Greek soup (or sauce) that is made from chicken broth, egg yolks, and lemon juice. Meat from the chicken (that has been cooked in the broth) is added back in along with orzo, rice, or pastina that is cooked in the broth as well. This particular one has a good bit of dill in it that adds an extra dimension of flavor. Michael Symon says his mom used to make this for him at the first sign of a cold, and magically he would feel better after eating this soup. I might have to agree. Considering that David and I both came down with sore throats the night we made this, I have to say we did feel better upon eating a big bowlful. Maybe it was the comforting quality that a brothy chicken soup has, the brightness of the lemon and dill, or the fact that in its homemade steaming goodness, it just felt good to eat. Needless to say, you needn’t feel ill to make this soup. It was so good, I think we will be making it throughout the winter, whether we feel a bit under the weather or not. May I add, the photos don’t portray this soup as looking particularly flavorful, but take my word for it, it packs a big punch of flavor, and is deliciously heavy on lemon.
lightly adapted from: Michael Symon’s Carnivore
1 (3 lb) chicken
1 bay leaf
3 quarts chicken broth, homemade if possible
1½ cups orzo pasta
grated zest and juice of 3 lemons (if the lemons are really big, use the zest of 3 and the juice of 2)
2 tablespoons Wondra flour
2 large eggs, lightly whisked
½ cup chopped fresh dill
Put the chicken, bay leaf, and broth in a large stockpot and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 1½ hours, until the chicken is fully cooked. (Start checking the chicken after an hour.) Remove the chicken to a platter to cool.
Add the orzo to the simmering broth and cook for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, shred the chicken with two forks, discarding the bones and skin.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, and the flour. Whisk in the eggs. Add a little of the simmering broth and whisk again. Check that the heat underneath the pot is low and then whisk in the egg mixture. The soup will become cloudy and thicken slightly. Once the eggs have been added, it’s important not to allow the soup to boil, as this will scramble the eggs, making the soup look more like egg drop.
Discard the bay leaf. Add the chicken to the soup along with the dill. Taste and add kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve immediately with your favorite toasted bread.