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- Meat and poultry
- Cuts of chicken
- Whole chicken
The classic egg lemon soup made the authentic Greek way. Very simple and comforting, it doesn't need anything else! Serve with a piece of delicious, crusty bread.
150 people made this
- 1 (1.35kg) whole chicken, giblets removed and reserved
- 90g uncooked white rice
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 2 lemons, juiced
MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:1hr ›Ready in:1hr15min
- Place chicken in a pot large enough for the chicken to move around, but not too much room or the stock will be watery. Add the giblets if included with your chicken. Fill with enough water to cover by about 2.5cm. Cover and bring to the boil. When boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, skimming the fat from the top as it collects.
- When the chicken is done, the meat should pull from the bones easily. Transfer the bird to a large bowl and set aside to cool. Add the rice to the stock and season with salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat for 20 more minutes or until rice is tender. When the rice is done, turn off the heat.
- Whisk the eggs with the lemon juice in a large bowl. Whisk one ladleful of hot stock into the eggs very gradually so the eggs do not curdle. Gradually whisk in more stock until the egg mixture is heated. Then pour the egg mixture back into the pot, whisking briskly. The result should be a creamy looking soup. You may season with additional salt, pepper or lemon juice at this point.
- You may add pieces of chicken to the soup before serving or serve soup with salted chicken on the side.
The soup should be filling, salty and slightly sour, so I use 2 juicy lemons although the flavour may be too sour for non-Greeks.
Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(130)
Reviews in English (98)
This was really good and just what I was looking for. The only thing that I did differently is when I bolied my chicken I added onion powder, garlic powder and some salt. I also added just a small pinch of Oregano to the soup when I added in the salt & pepper.-23 Jan 2008
This is my all time favorite soup. It's exactly the way my yiayia taught me how to make it when I was a young girl. It's now my nephew's favorite soup and he asks for it all the time. I wouldn't change a thing. If you are short on time, use a pressure cooker to cook the chicken. I also use chicken leg quarters and skim the fat that rises to the top.-12 Dec 2007
This is one of my favorites. My guests have be thrilled when I've served this refreshing soup!A few tips - to get more juice from the lemons, microwave them whole for 10 seconds before squeezing them.I always garnish this soup with nutmeg.You also can cook and shred boneless chicken breasts if that's more convenient.-14 Nov 2007
Avgolemono Soup…Greek Chicken Soup with Lemon
Avgolemono soup is the classic Greek chicken penicillin. It is a heavenly, velvety soup with a savory chicken broth, tart lemons and egg yolks. The combination creates a smooth and comforting soup perfect for a new twist on the classic chicken soup.
I have a certain affinity for chicken soup. I have re-created almost every single nationality’s version of chicken soup on this site, constantly in search of the perfect chicken soup to each culture.
AUTHENTIC GREEK AVGOLEMONO SOUP RECIPE
This dish is a firm family favourite in our house, especially in winter. It’s so simple and easy to make and with every food group represented it is highly nutritious, which makes it the perfect comfort food.
This a uthentic Greek avgolemono soup recipe will be a winner for your family too, guaranteed!
Avgolemono literally means ‘egg’ and ‘lemon’ in Greek and those are indeed the two main ingredients in this famous Greek soup.
Like so many Greek dishes there are many variations of this recipe and everyone will say the one that their Yiayia makes or the one from their village is the best. The variations are not significant and often just have to do with the quantities of the ingredients or the spices added.
It’s a fairly straight-forward process to make with a good stock as the foundation, although there is a magic trick towards the end that prevents the eggs from curdling and creates a foam on the top, something you won’t generally see in taverna’s as it has to be done fresh and on the spot.
Lemon soups are not uncommon across the Mediterranean and the Middle East as is the pairing of lemon with protein such as chicken or lamb.
The name for this sort of soup in Turkey is ‘Terbiye’ and in Arabic it is called ‘Tarbiya’, both of which mean ‘treatment’, which again refers to the highly nutritious nature of the dish.
It is believed the dish may have come to Greece with the Sephardic Jews from Spain who widely used citrus in their cooking. There are similar dishes found across The Balkans and even in Italy.
In Greece, you will also find other dishes on menus that include Avgolemno ‘sauce’ particularly over Dolmades and Cabbage rolls. It is thicker of course but has the same flavour.
Avgolemono, a Greek Easter Classic
My husband comes from a large Greek family, and although avgolemono (Greek lemon chicken soup) is a mealtime staple throughout the rest of the year, it occupies a place of honor at Easter. Far-flung family members return home for the annual celebration expecting all of their favorite dishes. With our modern schedules and out-of-state address, my husband and I aren’t always able to make it back home for the festivities. But as this is his favorite soup—equivalent to the classic chicken noodle for many of us—I set out to give him a taste of home.
I’ve watched his mother and grandmother make this soup many times, and they never use measuring cups. For the women in my husband’s family, the recipe is more muscle memory than cogitation. Yet for all its apparent simplicity, avgolemono can be unforgiving if steps are heedlessly rushed or ingredients skimped on. The hardest part is keeping the egg-lemon sauce from breaking once it’s added to the hot broth, which results in a lumpy, curdled mass that still tastes fine but looks like failure. Older recipes outline a technique of separating and beating the egg whites before folding in the yolks and lemon juice, but in recent years my husband’s grandmother has turned to the modern convenience of her blender with no loss of quality here, I have opted for the same. I also added a safety net of cornstarch, because once the eggs have been added, there’s no sure way to reheat the soup without the risk of curdling. Since there are never any avgolemono leftovers at family functions, this has never been a problem in the past, but for just the two of us, we’ll be wanting to warm this up the next day.
And finally, the amount of lemon juice is elastic and objective. Some family members stick to the bare minimum to attain a light lemony flavor, while others are notorious for their heavy handed squeezes. To avoid minor filial disagreements and good-natured ribbing, fresh-squeezed juice is served alongside the soup to tailor to individual tastes.
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Easy Avgolemono Soup (Greek Lemon Soup)
- This lemon soup made with orzo is like a Greek-style chicken noodle. Perfect for warming you up on cold days!
This traditional Greek soup not only has wonderful flavor, it has a marvelously satiny texture. Freshly squeezed lemon juice is combined with egg and then whisked into the hot soup to provide a flavor and creaminess that is simply fabulous.
Traditionally, Avgolemono calls for the addition of rice. We're going to shake things up a bit and use orzo instead, a tiny rice-shaped pasta that is great in soups. The end result is a Greek-style chicken noodle soup that will have you dishing up seconds.
To get started, gather up your ingredients.
Place the chicken broth in a medium-sized stockpot and add the orzo. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and then boil for 15 minutes or until the orzo is soft.
Shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
Add the chicken to the soup. Leave the soup on the burner with the lid on, but turn the burner off.
Whisk the lemon juice and the eggs together in a small bowl.
Add one ladle of warm soup broth to the lemon-egg mixture, whisking continually until incorporated. Whisk in another ladle of broth.
Pour the lemon-egg mixture into the pot of soup and stir until combined and smooth. The temperature of the soup will cook the egg.
Serve immediately, garnished with slices of lemon and coarsely ground black peppercorns.
This chicken lemon soup can often be found in Greek restaurants and homes and is often served at weddings or special celebrations. Its name avgolemono refers to to the egg and lemon sauce that is used to thicken the soup at the end of the cooking process. The soup has a lovely lemon tang and aroma but isn’t sour. It’s rich and creamy, even though it’s low in calories and saturated fat.
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS CHICKEN LEMON SOUP
There are two parts to making this delicious Greek chicken soup. Full ingredients and instructions (plus nutritional breakdown further below) but here is what you need and a handy video to show you how.
Making the base stock
First, you have to make the base chicken stock using skinless chicken breasts and thighs, vegetables, garlic, bay leaf and a chicken stock cube for extra flavor. Instant Pot is perfect for this phase as you can achieve rich, hearty stock in half the time of cooking it on the stove. To save time, you can also use pre-made chicken stock (see notes below).
Cooking & thickening the soup
Once the stock is made, the soup is finished by cooking extra vegetables (optional but adds extra nutrients) and orzo pasta or rice and making the avgolemono egg and lemon sauce, which is whisked eggs and lemon juice. This egg sauce is then tempered with the hot chicken stock to raise the temperature of the eggs without cooking them and is added to the soup to thicken it.
The chicken you cook for the stock is tender and juicy, perfect for shredding and add back to our soup.
Avgolemono chicken soup variations
This Instant Pot avgolemono recipe is dairy-free, healthy and nutritious, even though it tastes so comforting and hearty. Here are a couple of variations you can make for special diets:
There are a number of recipes that are now considered Greek even though they originated from other regions or cultures. We discovered this was the case for moussaka and this is also the case with avgolemono.
What is avgolemono?
Avgolemono, literally “egg-lemon” in Greek, is a term used to define soups or sauces made with eggs and lemon juice mixed with broth and heated until thickened to make a delicately silky, creamy and tangy sauce. The sauce is always made from the liquid in which the meats, fish or vegetables were cooked.
The name in Arabic (tarbiya) and Turkish (terbiye) literally means “treatment” or “improvement”. In Arabic, it is also called beida bi-lemoune (egg with lemon).
What is the origin of avgolemono?
Most food historians trace the origins of avgolemono to southern Europe, suggesting that the recipe traveled to Greece with Sephardic Jews.
In Sephardic Jewish cuisine, avgolemono is actually called agristada or salsa blanca. The Jews in Iberia prepared agristada before their expulsion from Spain. At the time, it was made with verjuice (agraz), pomegranate juice, or bitter orange juice, but not vinegar.
After the popularization of lemon in the Mediterranean around the tenth century, the citrus became the standard souring agent. The Jews from Spain (Sephardim) were actually at the forefront of citrus cultivation during the Middle Ages as they were growing citrons for the Sukkot festival. Therefore, the practice of using lemons in sauces like agristada first became widespread among them.
Sopa de huevos y limon (egg-lemon soup) is the ladino name given by Sephardic Jews. Jews from Salonika, as well as Turkey and the Balkans, traditionally serve different versions of this soup after the fast of Yom Kippur.
The same sauce is present in Balkan cuisine as well as in Italian cuisine where it is known as bagna brusca, brodettato, or brodo brusco.
How to make avgolemono
In Greek homes, women usually make avgolemono with egg whites and egg yolks. Professional chefs tend to omit the egg whites and thicken the sauce with cornstarch.
The whites may be beaten into a foam separately before mixing with the yolks and lemon juice, or the whole eggs may be beaten with the lemon juice. The starch of the rice or orzo contributes to stabilizing the emulsion.
In Greek villages, people make a kissing sound when adding the avgolemono to the soup or dish. It is known as a magical trick to keep the egg from curdling. This is the moment when you need to pay attention to how slowly you add the broth to the egg mixture, while constantly beating.
How to use avgolemono
Avgolemono is used in a variety of dishes, including the standard traditional chicken soup called soupa avgolemono or kotosoupa avgolemono.
The same sauce is also found in other delicious soups like psarosoupa avgolemono (fish soup), magiritsa (lamb offal soup made for Easter), prasoselino soupa (leek and celery soup), patsa (tripe soup) or yuvarlakia (meatball soup).
The Greeks are really fond of soups but also sauces and dips, like tzatziki, Bechamel sauce used in preparations like moussaka or pastitsio, or skordalia, a garlic-based sauce typically served with batter-fried fish, fried vegetables (eggplant and zucchini), poached fish, or boiled vegetables (mostly beets).
Avgolemono is almost as famous as the emblematic fasolada, but other delicious traditional soups include kakavia (fish soup), fakes (lentil soup), kreatosoupa (lamb and barley soup) or domatosoupa (tomato and rice soup).
The creaminess of the eggs combined with the citrusy flavor take this Greek lemon chicken soup to a whole new level.
So, don’t waste your leftover chicken soup or chicken broth. Beat some eggs, add some lemon, maybe some dill too, and surprise your friends with this mouth-watering chicken lemon rice soup!
In a 3-quart saucepan, combine chicken breast halves with chicken stock. Heat gently, using an instant-read thermometer to keep the temperature of the stock around 150°F (65°C). Cook until the chicken breast reaches an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C), about 1 hour, then remove from stock.
When chicken is cool enough to handle, dice or shred the meat and set aside.
Add rice or orzo to stock and cook until just tender, about 20 minutes for rice and 13 minutes for orzo. Lower heat to a bare simmer.
Meanwhile, in a heatproof bowl, combine eggs with 1/4 cup (60ml) lemon juice and beat until lightly foamy.
While whisking constantly, ladle in about 1/2 cup of the hot chicken broth into the eggs (it's okay if some rice or orzo comes along for the ride). Ladle in a three or four more 1/2-cup additions of the hot chicken broth while whisking, then whisk the egg-broth mixture back into the broth in the saucepan. Season with salt.
Cook the chicken soup over low heat, whisking and scraping the sides constantly, until thickened by the eggs. Taste soup, then, if desired, whisk in remaining lemon juice until your desired level of lemon flavor is reached. Season with salt again, if needed.
Add chicken meat, then ladle into bowls. Garnish with dill and serve.
Avgolemono Soup – Greek Egg Lemon Chicken Soup with Rice Recipe
Avgolemono Soup is the most famous of all the Greek soups. Every time I wasn’t feeling well when I was younger my yiayia would make me a giant pot. Luckily, now my husband knows how to make it and will make it for me when I’m feeling less than 100 percent.
I love making this soup for my Los Angeles personal chef clients. It’s so hearty and satisfying. It’s probably one of my most favorite Greek recipes to make next to Spanakopita.
You can make Avgolemono Soup in a number of different ways, and every family has their signature recipe. Most know it as a chicken soup with a beautiful egg-lemon sauce folded into it. Avgolemono is the Greek word for the egg-lemon sauce. Some recipes include chicken in the actual soup, some don’t. Just like some recipes include vegetables like carrots, celery and onion, and a starch like orzo pasta or rice. I love the Agrozimi Spelt Orzo available from Zelos Authentic Greek Artisan. Like I said, it’s up to you to make it to your taste. There is no right or wrong way. It’s fun to experiment with all the options too!
Try this easy recipe
This recipe is hearty and packed with protein. I love using succulent chicken thighs instead of traditional shredded chicken breasts, which tend to dry out and get chewy in the soup. If you’re playing the long game, you can start by making your chicken broth from scratch, slowly simmering a whole chicken with aromatics for hours, and using the chicken from that in the soup then adding the avgolemono sauce like I do here. This is how my yiayia used to do it and the payoff is worth it.
Working with the avgolemono sauce
The most important aspect of making the soup is not curdling the avgolemono sauce when you add it back into the soup. Achieve this by slowly tempering your broth into the blender with your eggs and lemon. Then take your soup off the heat, give it a few stirs to bring down the temperature and fold the sauce in while you’re rapidly stirring.
This recipe calls for flour in the avgolemono sauce. This helps thicken the sauce/soup. You don’t need to use it or you can substitute some corn starch whisked in a bit of water for it.
Add more lemon to taste. I also like my avgolemono with a lot of cracked black pepper and some chopped fresh dill.
Avgolemono Soup Step-By-Step
How to Avgolemono Soup — Egg-Lemon Soup with Chicken by xtinaxenos on Jumprope.
Steps to Make It
Add the chicken, water, carrots, celery stalks, onion, bay leaves, black peppercorns, and salt to a large stockpot. Bring to a rapid boil, lower the heat to medium-low and simmer partially covered for approximately an hour to an hour and a half.
Remove the chicken and vegetables to a bowl and carefully strain the broth through a fine sieve into a separate large bowl. Return the strained broth to the stockpot and bring to a boil.
Add the orzo pasta and cook, uncovered, for approximately 10 to 12 minutes until tender.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the egg-lemon mixture. Using a whisk, beat the eggs until nice and frothy in a bowl.
Add the lemon zest and the lemon juice in a steady stream while continuing to whisk.
When the pasta has finished cooking, turn off the heat. Ladle about 2 cups of broth into a bowl or large measuring cup.
Slowly add the hot broth to the egg-lemon mixture while continuing to whisk. This will temper the eggs and prevent them from curdling once they are added to the hot broth.
Stir the egg-lemon mixture into the pot and heat over very low heat for approximately 5 to 10 minutes until heated through. Be careful not to boil the soup once the eggs have been added.
Adjust your seasoning for salt and pepper.
Traditionally, this soup is served without the chicken meat or vegetables. You can add them back or serve on the side as you prefer.