Chicken Soup Avgolemono is perhaps the most iconic of all Greek soups. It’s on the menu at every Greek restaurant or diner and you’ll find it as the first course at most Greek holiday celebrations.
Note: If you like your soup very thick, you can add two tablespoons of cornstarch dissolved in a bit of warm water to the broth before adding the egg-lemon mixture.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Yield: 6 - 8 Servings
- 1 whole chicken, about 3 1/2 lbs. with excess fat trimmed and breast skin removed
- 12 cups water
- 2 carrots cut in half
- 2 celery stalks, cut in half
- 1 large onion, peeled and cut in half
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 whole black peppercorns
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup orzo pasta, or rice
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon zest
- Juice of two lemons, strained
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Add first eight ingredients to a large stockpot. Bring the water to a rapid boil, lower heat to medium low and simmer partially covered for approximately an hour to an hour and a half.
Remove the chicken and vegetables to a bowl and carefully strain the broth through a fine sieve into a large bowl. Return the strained broth to the stockpot and bring to a boil.
Add the orzo pasta and cook, uncovered for approximately 10 – 12 minutes until tender.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the egg-lemon mixture. Using a whisk beat the eggs until nice and frothy. Add the lemon zest and the lemon juice in a steady stream while continuing to whisk.
When the pasta has finished cooking, turn off the heat. Ladle about two cups of broth into a bowl or large measuring cup. Slowly add the hot broth to the egg-lemon mixture while continuing to whisk. This will temper the eggs and prevent them from curdling once they are added to the hot broth.
Stir the egg-lemon mixture into the pot and heat over very low heat for approximately 5 -10 minutes until heated through. Be careful not to boil the soup once the eggs have been added.
Adjust your seasoning for salt and pepper and add more as desired.
Traditionally, this soup is served without the chicken meat or vegetables. You can add them back or serve on the side as you prefer.