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Lemon Chicken Soup

January 17, 2011

Sunshine, warmth and yummy goodness are in this bowl of chicken soup.  Avgolemono (av- go- le- ma- no) is a classic Greek soup made with egg yolks and lemon juice quickly whisked into simmering broth.  I use this method in various soups I make to lighten and liven the flavor; as I did in the White Wine Soup previously posted. 

Lemon juice and fresh parsley takes chicken soup to a whole new level of brightness and the yolks gently thicken the broth.  Typically rice would be used in a Greek lemon soup; I chose to add pastina to the soup for its delicate lightness and only used small diced carrots and onions to further brighten the soup.   

 A bowl of this gentle sunny soup definitely cheered up my dreary Monday!

Lemon Chicken Soup

6 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium broth

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Salt and pepper

1 small onion, chopped

3 carrots peeled and chopped

1 bay leaf

¾ cup pastina

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

3 tablespoons freshly squezed lemon juice

3 large egg yolks

 Heat oil in large stock pot.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper and saute until lightly browned on both sides.  Remove to a plate.  Lower heat and add onion and carrots, cooking until softened and lightly browned, scraping up bottom from bits of chicken.  Pour in the broth, bay leaf and chicken breasts.  Bring to boil, cover and simmer over low heat until chicken is cooked through about 10 minutes.

Remove chicken to a cutting board and continue simmering soup.  Add in pastina.  Fork shred or cut chicken into bite sized pieces.  Return chicken to pot and reduce to very low.

Whisk the lemon juice and egg yolks together in a small bowl.  Continue whisking constantly while gradually adding 1 cup of the hot soup into the egg mixture.  Whisking quickly will temper the eggs so they do not curdle or scramble in the soup.  Add the lemon/egg mixture into the soup continuing to whisk until soup thickens slightly.  Stir in fresh parsley and adjust to taste with additional salt and pepper.  Remove bay leaf.   Serve at once.  Leftover soup may curdle a bit when reheated, but the taste will remain the same.

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