Avgolemoni / Avgolemono – Greek lemon and egg chicken soup
Avgolemono – Greek lemon and egg chicken soup
The soup to cure it all!
Avgolemono is one of the most popular Greek soups. It is very high up the list together with lentil soup, youvarlakia with avgolemono (meatball soup) and psarosoupa (fish soup). The name essentially translates to “egg and lemon”.
As young children in Cyprus/Greece whenever we get sick mums/grandmothers would often make avgolemono with chicken. Or even if we were upset and were feeling down – avgolemono was always the cure! And I’m pretty sure all Cypriot and Greek children can relate to that. It is also one of the soups that we make on Easter Saturday after we go home at night from church. If you say avgolemono to anyone that has eaten it before, automatically they would think of a homely and soothing meal.
The ingredients to make avgolemono are so basic and I think are staples at every home (a Greek one anyway): egg, lemon, rice and chicken. When combined together it makes a creamy and sour soup. To make the soup you essentially boil chicken and rice and then add the avgolemono mixture. I usually use individual pieces rather than a whole chicken to reduce the cooking time but either works very well.
When I was a young teenager I remember I called my aunty to ask her how to make this soup. She warned me that, “The hardest part is to successfully make the avgolemono without curdling it”. Needless to say, my first try was not successful but my dad was too nice not to eat it haha
The three most important things that I learned over the years making this soup are:
1. Allow the eggs to come to room temperature
2. Don’t add the chicken stock directly to the eggs
3. Slowly add the avgolemono in the stock once it is done.
To enjoy this soup, I always serve it with shredded chicken, small pieces of halloumi, bread rusks (paximadia) and cracked pepper. So in a mouthful you have the creamy and sour taste of the soup, the crunchiness of the rusks and the saltiness from the halloumi. It is all a match made in heaven!
For the feature image credits go to Angie of Feedmeichi for her styling assistance.
1 hr 10 mins
1 hr 20 mins
Servings: 8 people
• 4 L water
• ½ tbs salt
• 1 kg skinless chicken thighs with bone, (see notes)
• ½ medium-sized lemon
• 1 ½ cup of long grain rice (300g), washed and strained
• 4 large eggs
• 1 cup lemon juice (250mL)
• chicken, shredded
• halloumi, diced
• bread rusks
• cracked pepper
1. Add the water and salt to a large pot. Bring water to a boil. If the eggs you are using are in the fridge take them out so that they are at room temperature before you use them.
2. Once the water is boiled add the chicken to the pot together with the juice of half a lemon. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the thighs for 45min with the lid on (see notes).
3. When the chicken is ready take it out and set it aside to cool for a bit. When they are cool enough to handle, use your hands or two forks to shred the chicken. Set aside covered to eat later when the soup is ready.
1. Remove any foam that may have formed on the top of the stock with a slotted spoon. Bring the stock to boil after you have removed the chicken and add the rice. Cook on medium heat for 25min. You may want to reduce this time if you prefer the rice to be less tender.
2. When the rice is done take the pot off the heat, it is now time to make the avgolemono (egg/lemon mixture). Add two ladles of the stock in a jug with the lemon juice. I use 1 cup of lemon juice when I make it for the family as we like the lemon flavour to be intense. However, if you do not like it as much you can always add less at this stage and squeeze more lemon upon serving if needed.
3. Crack the eggs in a blender and blend at the lowest speed with the lid on (see notes). Using the small opening on the lid, slowly add the stock/lemon mixture with the eggs. Do not increase the speed. Stop blending once the stock/lemon mixture is finished.
4. The avgolemono is now done. Pour it slowly into the pot stirring gently. A smooth foam should form on the top. Put the pot back on the stove for 2 min on medium heat just so that everything is combined. Do not allow it to boil. Serve warm with the additions and enjoy!
Depending on what I find at the butcher, I also use skinless things without the bone. If you use them then reduce the cooking time to 25min rather than 45min.
To make the avgolemono I’ve used a hand mixer, a stick blender or a food blender. Either method works well to combine the ingredients and make a creamy foam. Just be mindful when using a hand mixer or the stick blender that the liquid could splash hence you need to use a deep bowl or even a tall measuring jug. And once again it is important that the stock/lemon mixture is added slowly into the eggs.