This recipe for Avgokofti (Greek Lemon Egg Chicken Soup) comes to us from our Marketing Coordinator, Sia, and her Giagia (Greek for Grandma) Soula. This was the very first thing Sia ever learned to cook with her Giagia, and she remembers being 5 years old and learning to separate eggs and working the hand mixer whilst Giagia Soula explained to her the importance of making the kissy noises loudly so the eggs wouldn’t cook.
1 whole chicken (about 3 pounds)
1 yellow onion, peeled & roughly chopped
10 cups water, chicken or vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups short-grain rice, she suggests Arborio or Orzo
3 large eggs
3 lemons, juiced
2 carrots, chopped in thick slices
3 stalks celery, halved
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Wash chicken thoroughly and place in a deep pot. Push the chicken down to the bottom of the pot with your hands, & add the onion and celery. Pour in the water or broth (the liquid should cover the chicken) and season with salt and pepper. Place on high heat, put the lid on and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down and simmer the chicken for about 1 hour and 15 minutes (the chicken is ready when the meat can be removed easily from the bones). While the chicken boils, some white foam will surface on the water. Remove foam with a slotted spoon.
Remove the chicken from the broth and strain the broth. Put the broth back into the pot, add the rice and carrot slices. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, pull the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Dice the meat into bites and sprinkle with pepper. Add the meat back into the pot with salt and pepper and boil until rice is done.
As the rice and chicken boil, begin to prepare the egg lemon sauce. This can get tricky because you don’t want the eggs to cook in the broth! Separate the whites from the yolk. Using an electric hand mixer, whisk the whites until stiff and foamy; slowly add the lemon juice and yolks and whisk again. Don’t let it become too liquid.
HERE IS THE IMPORTANT PART: After the yolk and juice have been added, add a ladle of hot soup, and - if you want to be super Greek about it – make long kissy noises with your mouth so your eggs won’t curdle as you whisk the soup in quickly. Add one more ladle and whisk again, so that the eggs get warm. Pour the entirety of the egg mixture back into the pot, whilst constantly stirring, put the lid on and leave for 3-4 minutes.
Serve this delicious Greek lemon chicken soup with extra lemon to taste, with lots of crusty bread and a big appetite because you’ll want seconds for sure. Enjoy!