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Recipe: Greek Lemon and Rice Soup

I’m experimenting with cuisines of different origins and I thought I would venture into the wide world (tiny country) of Greece.  For those reading this who don’t reside in New York City, I’m sorry.  You’re missing some stellar meals, as Queens, NY has the highest Greek population outside of Greece.

I have never cooked soup like this before but I figured I’d try it.  And, if you wanted to add vegetables, it would be nutritionally complete!  The chicken and egg provide a lot of protein and fat, the brown rice (though white rice or orzo is a more traditional preparation) provides more protein and complex carbohydrate.  Some vegetables to round it out would add vitamins and minerals.

Avgolemono (Αυγολέμονο)

Serves 6-8

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 3 celery stalks, quartered
  • 1 leek, quartered
  • 2 carrots, quartered
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • ¾ cup brown rice
  • 3 tbsp corn starch
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5-6 lemons, zested and juiced (to yield ½ cup juice)
  • 2 tbsp chives, finely chopped

Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat and add the onion. Lightly caramelize, about 5-8 minutes.  Add the broth, chicken, carrots, celery, leek, and bay leaves; cover.  Poach chicken until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Remove the chicken and set aside.  Add brown rice, cover, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer until cooked al dente (or according to the package directions), about 35 minutes.  While the rice cooks, cube the chicken.  In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and cold water; whisk until there are no lumps of cornstarch.  In another bowl, whisk the eggs and lemon juice together.

Once the rice is cooked, add the cornstarch slurry and stir.  Add the chicken back to the pot.  To the egg-lemon mixture, slowly add 2 cups of the hot broth, whisking continuously.   Once the broth is incorporated, add the mixture back to the soup pot and stir well.  Season with salt and pepper.  Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with zest and chives.

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