If you can't pronounce that don't worry about it. Just call it Greek Lemon Chicken Soup. It's been a long while since I posted a recipe here but yesterday as I was cooking I thought perhaps it was time once again. It was a cold, dreary, rainy day and a couple of members of Chez Lime were not feeling well so chicken soup seemed a good thing to make. Mind you, I like regular chicken soup as much as the next person but I am especially fond of Avgolemono because of the extra little lemon zing. This recipe is adapted from an old cookbook I found among my grandmother's things after she died 12 years ago. I was happy to find this recipe in it but the first few times I made it were visual flops. After some coaching from a Greek neighbor and a friend who was taught to make this by her yia yia (Greek for grandmother) I was able to get it right. So when I give you directions know it's not just for my own indulgence. It's for your own good and the good of the soup. Ok, let's get cooking. Here's what you'll need.
6 cups of chicken stock (I like to make my own and then use the meat from that for the soup but yesterday I didn't have time for that so I grabbed some organic low sodium broth from the pantry. I go for low sodium not just for health reasons but for taste because otherwise things just taste too darned salty. I like to control the amount of salt in a dish. If you want a salt lick in a bowl, get the other kind. It's your blood pressure. If you need to know how to make your own stock go google a recipe somewhere. I don't have time to go over that today.)
juice of half a lemon (Yes, I squeeze the lemon. Then I strain it. No one wants seeds and pulp in their soup. If you're hellbent on using reconstituted juice figure out how much it is. I have no idea.)
2 Tbsp water (That would be two molecules of hydrogen to every one molecule of oxygen combined and repeated over and over to make 2 Tbsp. If the chemistry is daunting and unwieldy just turn on your faucet.)
1/2 cup orzo pasta (Here is where I diverge from Nana's cookbook. The author says 4 Tbsp of rice. I like rice shaped pasta instead of actual rice but you do what you want, ok? I can cut you that much latitude.)
meat from chicken bones (Since I didn't make my own stock I just threw a couple of boneless breasts in the oven and then shredded them up after they were cooked. I'm going to be a stickler for technique here but we can be flexible about some of the ingredients. Keep up, would ya?)
black pepper and sea salt to taste (Your taste may differ from mine so whatever works for you. If your pot tastes like a salt lick though I'm not interested in it.)
-Put the stock and orzo in a pot and heat. Once it reaches a boil cover it and simmer until the pasta is al dente. I'll admit I kind of over did it a bit yesterday so it got overly soft. You've been warned.
-While the stock is coming to boil whisk the eggs thoroughly in a big bowl, not massive but eventually the bowl will have about 3 cups of fluid you need to be whisking around so it has to accommodate that unless you're fond of having this mess fly all over your counter. Mix the lemon juice and water together then slowly add it to the eggs as you continue whisking them. This is the part where you practice that slow adding and whisking at the same time. You're going to be doing a lot of that for this recipe. It's really important later on.
-Once the pasta is al dente take the pot off the heat and remove 2 cups of the broth. VERY SLOWLY add this to the lemon/egg mixture as you continue to whisk. When I say very slowly, I mean it. If you go dumping all that boiling hot broth into your eggs willy nilly just forget it. You're going to have curdled eggs and nasty looking soup. It will still be edible but it will look like vomit in a bowl, which is not terribly appetizing. So just take yer flippin' time already! Slow down! I mean add it drip by drip, seriously. It took me several minutes to add 2 cups of hot broth to the eggs. And don't stop whisking...again, it's the risk of a bowl of pukey looking soup.
-Now that you've practiced that you get to do it some more. Take that brother/egg/lemon mixture and VERY SLOWLY add it back to the pot as you stir the soup constantly. Please don't make me describe my idea of slow again. Were you not paying attention in the last step? Really, if you don't have enough of an attention span for that then just give up on this soup. This is not ADHD compatible soup. If you want that go crack open a can of chemical salt lick brew. Again, if you're not slow about it you'll have curdled soup. My friend told me her yia yia used to get the pace right by sucking air through her pursed lips while she poured with one hand and stirred with the other. Whatever works, ya know?
-After all the mixture is added back into the pot, add salt and pepper, toss in the meat, and reheat the whole thing on medium low heat until it SOUNDS like it's boiling but isn't actually having bubbles break the surface. Stir it occasionally. Once it sounds boiling take it off the heat and stir it gently.
-Ladle it into the bowls, slurp it up enjoying the slightly lemony tang. Congratulate yourself on a fine pot of soup.