Greek Lemon Chicken Soup (Kota Avgolemono)
Hearty, simple, and comforting, this Greek Lemon Chicken Soup is a trademark dish that has nourished generations. It is thick, creamy, slightly tangy and most of all warming. Greeks refer to it as a hug on a cold winters day and as a home remedy to comfort the sick.
Avgolemono literally means ‘egg-lemon' in Greek. It is a term used to define soups or sauces made with eggs and lemon mixed with broth. The result is a creamy, silky yet tangy sauce that is enjoyed by all.
When making the stock, I like to use drumsticks. The reason for this is that meat on bone makes for a very tasty broth. Others prefer to use the whole chicken but I find you need a really deep pot and a lot of water to cover a whole chicken, hence drumsticks are a great option. Any other chicken pieces can be used, as long as it is not fillet or boneless.
When boiling the chicken, water will evaporate, therefore, at the stage that the shredded chicken is added, if you find it is too thick, add a cup or so of boiling water to dilute it a little. You want the soup to be thick but not as thick as a risotto.
Many find it difficult to make a creamy egg-lemon sauce but the secret is corn flour. It is used to bind the ingredients together and create a creamy texture. Just add all the ingredients to a NutriBullet or blender and that does a great job of whizzing it together to create that creaminess.
Greek Lemon Chicken Soup
Preparation and Cooking Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
6 chicken drumsticks, preferably organic or free range
1.5 cups medium grain rice
3+ liters water
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon butter (or dairy-free substitute)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 small eggs at room temperature
1 heaped teaspoon gluten-free corn flour
1 cup chicken stock from the soup
In a large deep pot filled with the water, add the chicken and bring it to a boil. Skim off any impurities until the chicken stock is clear. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes.
Remove chicken from stock and set aside to cool down. Once cooled, shred into small pieces to add to the soup at the end.
In the meantime, strain the stock to remove any bones. Keep aside 1 cup of chicken stock which will be needed for the lemon sauce.
Bring the stock to boil, add in the rice, seasoning, and butter, and stir continuously for a minute. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the rice is cooked.
Once cooked add the chicken pieces to the pot and cook for a further 10 minutes. If the soup is looking too thick, add a cup of boiling water and stir in well.
In the meantime make the lemon sauce. Using an electric beater, blender or NutriBullet, add the lemon juice, eggs, corn flour, and the cup of chicken stock set aside. Beat until all ingredients are combined and creamy.
Pour into the soup and using a spoon stir the lemon sauce into the soup. Turn off the heat immediately. Taste for seasoning.
Serve warm with a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper and (optional) a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.