“Egg-lemon” soup may not sound like an appetising soup based on its translation from the Greek “Avgolemono”. It is actually a humble chicken and rice soup, thickened with egg and flavoured with freshly squeezed lemon. It's comforting and satisfying without being too heavy.
My recipe was passed down from my mother and tweaked somewhat. It’s quite common for Greek families to start feeding their children this nutritious soup as soon as they can handle a few soft lumps. I am doing this now with my youngest son who is almost 8 months. I blend it a little with a hand held whisk, but don’t over blend it because tends to get too thick. He loves eating what we eat now and this meal is one of those easy foods the whole family can enjoy.
I make this soup all year round – when we are sick, when it’s hot, when it's cold (which is hardly ever in Dubai), when my eldest son is going through a picky eater phase, after Lent and fasting days or just because there's nothing more comforting than a bowl of soup.
Some notes on the recipe:
- If you are making this for a family, including a baby, make a batch of soup without any salt and keep a little aside. The remaining soup can be seasoned afterwards for the rest of the family.
- Although the soup is freezer friendly, I have personally never frozen it because I make it so often.
- I use risotto rice instead of long grain rice because I like the soft, creamy texture it gives the soup. If you use long grain rice, you will need to use 1 ½ - 2 cups of rice as the risotto rice thickens and expands a lot more.
- Use any of your favourite aromatic vegetables and herbs in the stock for a more flavoursome soup. My mother never added vegetables to the stock but I love the flavour it gives the soup.
- Always use chicken on the bone, whether it’s pieces or whole chicken. It not only tastes better, but it’s more nutritious. Chicken pieces also cook quicker.
- If you are pushed for time, use a good quality ready-made chicken stock, and omit the cooked chicken. My kids eat the soup without the chicken so sometimes I just use my homemade frozen chicken stock and dinner is ready in 30 minutes.
- Left over chicken can be used for snacks, sandwiches or salads.
Serves about 4
4 - 6 pieces of free range chicken (I use chicken breasts and thighs, on the bone)
1 medium carrot, peeled
1 stick celery
2 shallots or 1 medium onion, peeled
2 bay leaves
1 thin slice of fresh ginger
6 cups water
1 cup risotto rice
2 organic eggs, at room temperature
Juice of one lemon, to taste
Salt to taste
Note: This soup will thicken upon standing so be prepared to add extra water after cooking.