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LOCATION: Recipes >> Greek >> Avgolemono 02

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Greek Egg and Lemon Soup

1 quart chicken stock
4 whole eggs, room temperature
juice of one large lemon
1/4 cup orzo (small rice-shaped mararoni)

Bring broth to a boil. Add the rice, and cook till rice is soft
and starting to split.

Beat the eggs, and beat in the lemon juice.

Now comes the tricky part - but if you follow instructions to the
letter, you shouldn't have any problem. The trick is to achieve
the fine temperature margin between not cooking the eggs and cooking
them too much (curdling them).

Take some of the boiling stock, say 1 cup or so, and slowly pour
it into the eggs, beating constantly. This warms up the eggs and
thins them a little.

Now take the stock *off* the heat. Let sit a few seconds, till it
stops bubbling *completely.* If you don't wait, or if the stock
is still boiling, you will have a curdled mess. (But you can save
it if it happens.) Now, beating with a whisk, slowly pour the warmed
egg-lemon mixture into the stock. It will thicken up. It won't be
pasty thick, but you will be able to tell when it is thickened
because before it thickens, a stir will make the soup swirl and
slowly come to a stop. When it has thickened, it will swirl, then
rather suddenly stop. It will also coat the spoon slightly.

Add finely chopped parsley, about a tablespoon, or to taste, and
serve with freshly ground pepper. You can also adjust the lemon
if you want it stronger.

If the soup doesn't thicken, it means your eggs were too cold, so
the overall temperature didn't get hot enough. Turn the heat down
and put the pot back on, and slowly raise it, stirring and stopping
often to see if it thickens. Get it off as soon as you see signs
of thickening. To avoid going through this, I often put the eggs
in hot water from the tap for a half hour before I make the soup;
this assures that they are warm enough.

If the soup curdles, then you still had the soup too hot when you
added the eggs. Oops. You can strain the rice out of the soup,
and put the curdled liquid in a blender on high. It will come out
fine and you can hardly tell the difference.

You can also make it with the chicken meat; I boil the chicken
(don't add onions, it makes the avgholemono taste rather bizarre),
and take the meat off the bones (but my greek mom didn't). Make
the soup as above, adding the meat after it thickens. This makes
a great meal in itself.


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