Avgolemono: Fast, Delicious, Dinner

 Hot, fresh avgolemeno

Hot, fresh avgolemeno

If you are in a hurry and you have eggs, broth, and chicken kickin' around your kitchen, you are a pretty good candidate for Avgolemeno. Avgolemeno is a Greek soup made of lemon, egg, broth, pasta/rice, chicken, and sometimes dill. It is so easy I can't even handle it. We have made it 3 or 4 times and every time it is creamy (without cream!), tangy, and filling. We snagged the recipe from Dinner A Love Story and for the most part didn't mess with it. We did, however, make it more sustainable.

The recipe calls for 4 cups chicken broth. We used our homemade broth, which we mentioned in the Earth Day post. Usually, we have stock on hand. If not, we use Better Than Bullion Organics for our instant broth needs. Better Than Bullion has organic versions of most of its bases, and it is a very tasty stock replacement. In a pinch, you can use water in any recipe that calls for stock.

The other change we made was to substitute sushi rice for orzo. The cooking time is very similar, but we never really have pasta on hand. We do always have rice around. This change also makes this simple soup entirely gluten free. (Do you hear, gluten free friends, this soup is for you!) They call for a 1/4 orzo, but tonight I used 1/2 cup rice to make the soup a little thicker.

Tonight was the first time we used our pastured, organic egg share eggs for this soup. They are smaller eggs because the chickens are still young, so to get proportions right, we ended up adding five eggs instead of three. If you use store bought eggs, or buy local eggs from older chickens, definitely use three. Dill is abundant in the summer and pretty cheap (due to the fact that it is often considered a weed.) We usually think to make this when we have a bit of leftover chicken from an organic rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods. The only thing you probably would not be able to get locally sourced for this soup is the lemon, assuming you're in the Midwest like we are.

The best part, aside from how lovely it tastes, is that it really only takes about 15 minutes. 15 minutes! We are basically lapping Rachel Ray in the race to dinner. Sustainable dinner in less than 20 minutes. Now this would add about a day and a half to cooking time, but I wholeheartedly recommend this with a fresh slice of homemade sourdough (gluten-free friends, you should obviously skip this). Kristl has been whipping up a loaf of bread every other week or so from her homemade sourdough starter, and I know she will be regaling you soon enough with her successes and failures thereof. For now, I will leave you with a picture of her most recent loaf, a part of which nicely accompanied our avgolemeno soup tonight. (Original soup recipe below the gratuitous bread picture.)

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Avgolemono (From Dinner A Love Story)

4 cups chicken broth (or stock)

1/4 cup uncooked orzo (rice)

salt and pepper

3 eggs

3 tablespoons

lemon juice

handful fresh dill (chopped)

shredded rotisserie chicken (optional)

In a large saucepan, bring the broth to a boil.

Add the orzo and cook until tender but still al dente, about 7 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper and reduce heat to low; let simmer.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and lemon juice until smooth. Ladle about 1 cup of the hot broth into the egg-and-lemon mixture, whisking to combine.

Add the mixture back to the simmering saucepan. Stir just until the soup becomes opaque and thickens as the eggs cook, 1 to 2 minutes. Add dill, salt and pepper (to taste) and chicken, if you so desire, and serve.