Καλημέρα – Kaliméra! Greek cuisine has a world reputation of being delicious, hearty and the quintessential Mediterranean food. I have always loved it, although I have not mastered at home, but when I finally visited Greece I thoroughly understood why and that all of it was indeed true!
Athens, besides its historical richness, the imposing ruins and its cheerful ambiance also remains in my top five best places to eat! Well, not only Athens: One day, while visiting the Aegina island, everything was so enjoyable that time passed by in a gorgeous lonely beach and so had the lunch hour, kitchens were already closing. So, Mr. Soup Taster and I started to wander around in the hope to find some gyro spot to grab a bite. Instead, lucky for us, a lovely lady (with a very trained eye for hungry customers) that was seated outside her big home terrace invited us in. As it turned out, it was her own restaurant, and although the kitchen was closed and she was resting outside, she offered to serve us anyway! We could immediately tell that the food was absolutely home-made and she could have been my grand mother would I had been Greek (well, and maybe some years younger, haha); what a delightful experience it was! We had a moussaka and some giant meatballs in tomato sauce that were to die for!
I’ve cooked moussaka before and in summer I usually prepare tzatziki, but that was as far as I went with Greek cooking until today, when I took a step further and prepared this delicious soup: a chicken and rice soup with Avgolemono, a lemon and egg sauce that provides a unique and exquisite texture. This was the first time I made it and it is already among my favourites! This is my quick and easy approach to it, let’s try it?
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
For the soup
- a dash of olive oil
- 2 spring onions, chopped
- 1 chicken breast, cut into thin strips or diced
- Salt, pepper and oregano to taste
- 1 liter chicken stock
- 1/4 cup brown rice (Use long grain white rice or orzo pasta if preferred)
- Fresh chopped parsley to garnish
For the Avgolemono sauce
- 2 eggs
- a pinch of salt
- 1 lemon juice
- 1/2 cup warm chicken stock (taken from the soup)
In a cooking pot heat the oil, add the onions and sauté until soften. Add the chicken, salt, pepper and oregano to taste and slightly brown.
Pour the stock, bring to a boil and include the rice. Lower the heat and simmer around 30 minutes until the rice is fully cooked. If you use orzo pasta or white rice the cooking time will vary to 10 and 20 minutes respectively.
While the soup is cooking, beat the eggs in a bowl with a pinch of salt. Slowly pour the lemon juice whisking continuously. Then whisking the egg-lemon mix carefully add the warm stock. It is important that the stock has been previously cooled down to avoid curdling the eggs.
Once cooked, turn the heat off the soup, make sure is not boiling (again to avoid the egg sauce to curdle) and slowly pour the sauce into the soup and stir to blend. It has to result in a creamy texture. You just have to be careful in this final step, but it is really easy to prepare!
Serve, garnish with parsley and enjoy!