Dish of the Week: Avgolemono (Greek Lemon Soup)

From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. Find other dishes of the week here.

With the colder weather creeping in, we’re sharing a recipe for the classic Greek soup avgolemono.

Avgolemono is a soup or sauce made of beaten eggs and lemon juice that is popular in Mediterranean and Balkan cuisine. As a sauce, it can work as a thickening agent for stews or be used as a flavoring for meat, fish or vegetables. It is also commonly served as a sauce for things like dolma (stuffed grape leaves) or artichokes. In soup form, it's traditionally found loaded with chicken, vegetables and some sort of orzo, rice or pastina.

Food historians believe the combination of egg and citrus traveled to Greece with the Sephardic Jews. Avgolemono may be derived from the Sephardic agristada, a sauce made with bitter orange juice as the souring agent before lemons were introduced. 

The lemon and egg work perfectly to simultaneously brighten and deepen the richness of a classic chicken soup.

This recipe, from celebrity chef Cat Cora, uses simple flavors to make a decadent, soul-satisfying meal. Add in whatever flavors you like, whether it be splash of hot sauce for spice or chopped dill for freshness.


Ingredients makes 4-6 servings
One 3-pound free-range chicken
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 bay leaves
1 carrot, peeled and quartered
1 leek, cleaned and quartered
2/3 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon ground pepper (or to taste)

Place the chicken in a large pot and add enough water to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low, skimming when necessary.

Heat the oil in a separate pan over medium heat and add the onions. Cook the onions until clear, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

When the chicken is cooked through, 45 minutes to 1 hour, remove from the broth. Let the chicken cool, and then pull the meat from the bones. Dice into large cubes and set aside.

Add the bay leaves, carrot, leek and reserved onions to the broth and simmer, about 1 hour.

Remove the carrot and leek from the broth and add the rice. Bring to a boil, and then turn the heat to medium-high to simmer until the rice is cooked to al dente, about 30 minutes. Add the chicken back into the broth, adding more water if needed.

In a small bowl, beat the lemon juice and eggs together. Pour 2 cups of broth slowly into the bowl, whisking continuously. Once all the broth is incorporated, add the mixture into the pot of chicken soup and stir to blend well throughout. Add salt and pepper. Taste and season as needed before serving hot.
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Brooke Viggiano is a contributing writer who is always looking to share Houston's coolest and tastiest happenings with the Houston Press readers.
Contact: Brooke Viggiano