When you think of Greek cooking, the first thing you usually think of is a simply exquisite lemony soup with a little bit of rice in it, thickened by eggs.
Greek food is a marvelous mixture of magnificent manna, appealing to all tastes, from grilled foods to layered casseroles and including those wonderful sweet delicate pastries wrapped in paper- thin, multi-layered phyllo wrappings.
Just about any Greek restaurant or diner features Avgolemono soup because everyone loves it.
But hardly anyone, other than Greeks, makes it at home. That’s a shame I think, because it is so delicious yet easy to prepare, requiring just a few ingredients (although some people add to it) and brief stove time.
You needn’t wait for a Greek holiday celebration to enjoy this, make it in the middle of the week to precede a nice entrée followed by perhaps a bread or rice pudding. If you haven’t ever tasted it before, try it. you will soon be agog for avgolemono.
AVGOLEMONO SOUP serves 8
2 quarts (2 litres) chicken broth
2/3-cup rice or orzo
3 whole eggs
Juice of 2 small lemons or 1-1/2 large
Bring to boiling in a saucepan the chicken broth.
Stir in the rice or orzo, lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, after which taste for doneness.
Remove the pan from the heat and let broth cool down.
Crack the eggs into a large bowl and beat until mixed.
Now, start beating again while gradually adding in the lemon juice.
When the broth has cooled down, it is time to temper the eggs.
While beating the eggs once again, slowly add about 2 cups of the still hot chicken broth to them, pouring in a slow thin stream. This method insures that the eggs absorb the liquid without getting “cooked” too soon.
With a fork, stir the rice or orzo and remaining broth vigorously while pouring all of the egg mixture into the saucepan.
Continue stirring until the soup thickens a little, but use very low heat; you do not want to bring to boiling.
Serve the soup as soon as thickened.
Enjoy this culinary gift from the Greeks.