06 February 2013

Avgolemono - Greek Lemon and Rice Soup with Lemon Pepper and Garlic Bread Sticks

Over the weekend, I made a friend a big pot of chicken noodle soup ... the kind that reminds us of our childhood lunches. It had plenty of carrot bits, was loaded with celery and onion, nice bite-sized bits of juicy chicken thighs, plenty of super thin egg noodles, and a softly salty chicken broth with bits of bright green parsley floating through it all. That's not the soup I am going to share with you today, though.


Today, it's time to share a soup that fits the lemon-themed meal that I am preparing with a group of fellow bloggers who have joined in on February's Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club. I am making a Greek-inspired soup called Avgolemono. I have some of the same bright chicken broth that I prepared for Betty's chicken noodle soup, but I will be introducing lemon juice and eggs to the broth to make a smooth and somewhat creamy soup that will have rice, peas and scallions embellishing it. Truly traditional Avgolemono has nothing more than chicken broth, lemon juice, eggs, rice, and salt and pepper, but I am starved for green at this time of year.  I chose to make Cooking Light's version with scallions. Plus, I'm adding peas and some small chunks of chicken thigh meat. Consider it a jazzed up avgolemono. It will be a meal for us with a side salad. If I were with my Virtual Supper Club cohorts, I would leave out the meat, as this would keep the soup light -a perfect second course, given the rest of the dinner menu.

This month's menu is a complete one! Just look!
Aperitif - Sandi's Limoncello
Soup - Greek Avgolemono  
Bread - Lemon Pepper and Garlic Bread Sticks 
Greek Avgolemono Soup

1 (2 ¼ lb.) rotisserie chicken
9 c. water
2 c. chopped carrot
2 c. chopped onion
¾ c. chopped celery
1 tsp. salt
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 c. sliced scallions, greens and white – set aside some of the greens for garnish
3 cloves minced garlic
¾ c. long-grain rice
½ c. lemon juice (about 3 lemons
2 large eggs
½ c. chopped dill

Optional Ingredients:
1 c. fresh or thawed frozen peas
2 c. cooked chicken meat, bite-sized bits
Making the Soup:
  1. Remove the meat from the cooked rotisserie chicken, cut into bite-sized bits and set aside.
  2. Place the chicken carcass, the carrots, onions, celery, water, thyme, and salt in a stock pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour.
  3. Strain the stock, discarding the carcass and veg. Place the stock back into the cleaned stock pot.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a fry pan, adding the garlic and scallions. Cook for one minute and then scrape everything into the chicken stock. Bring the stock almost to a boil.
  5. Add the rice to the stock and lower the heat to a simmer. Cover the pan and cook the rice until almost tender.
  6. Meanwhile, beat the eggs until frothy. Add the lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
  7. Remove 1 cup of hot broth from the soup pot. Drizzle the hot broth a little at a time while continuing to beat the egg and lemon mixture. When the broth has been added and beat well, stir the egg/broth mixture into the hot soup.
  8. Add the peas and cooked chicken, if you are choosing to jazz up the soup, stir constantly over very low heat to heat everything through – about five minutes. This soup cannot boil or it will separate.
  9. Serve hot with bread stick and a salad or in small bowls as a soup course with a larger meal.  
Notes: This soup is full of citrus flavour. It may be too lemony for some folks, so I would suggest cutting back the lemon juice measure to 2 to 3 tbsp. to begin with. Taste the soup and add more lemon if you wish more citrus. Also, it is imperative that you not boil the soup once the egg and citrus have been added, as the soup will curdle and look really unappetizing (this a warning from another on-line foodie). Last, the next time I make this soup, I will cook the rice separately and add it at the last minute with the peas, as cooking the rice in the chicken broth cause s it to cloud slightly. I think I would prefer the broth to be a pristene golden yellow. Just sayin'.
    Lemon Pepper Garlic Bread Sticks
    Make about 24 bread sticks, depending on how wide you cut them
    2½ c. flour
    1 tsp. salt
    ½ tsp. sugar
    1 c. warm water (109 ° F) with a pinch of sugar
    2¼ tsp. active dry yeast
    2 tbsp. olive oil
    Cornmeal for sprinkling
    Making the Bread Sticks:
    1. Add the yeast to the warm water and pinch of sugar, stirring in the yeast and letting it rest for ten minutes.
    2. Whisk the flour, salt, and sugar together in a bread bowl.
    3. Add the bloomed yeast and water and the olive oil to the dry ingredients and stir to make a shaggy dough.
    4. Knead the dough for about five minutes, cover the bowl and place it in a warm spot for about half and hour.
    5. While the dough rises, make the lemon pepper and garlic olive oil/butter
    6. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line two or three baking sheets with parchment paper.
    7. Sprinkle cornmeal onto a work surface and roll the dough out to a rectangle that’s about 14 by 10 inches.
    8. Use a pizza wheel to cut long bread sticks.
    9. Holding the dough with both hands, twist the bread sticks into spirals and place them on parchment-lined pans about an inch apart.
    10. Brush with the lemon pepper garlic oil/butter. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden and crisped.
    11. Remove from the pans and store loosely covered.
    Lemon Pepper Garlic Butter
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    2 tbsp. olive oil
    2 tbsp. butter
    Pinch Kosher salt
    2 tbsp. lemon juice
    ¼ tsp. black pepper
    Heat the olive oil in a small fry pan. Add the butter and when it has melted and is bubbly, add the garlic and sauté for one minute. Add the lemon juice and salt and pepper and turn off the heat. Let the butter sit to mellow the garlic flavour with the lemon pepper. Taste to check for the right saltiness.


  1. If I had to choose I would choose avgoloemeno soup as my all time favourite. Perhaps it's the lemon notes and the creamy texture but I am so glad to brought it to the table Susan.

  2. This sounds so good. I might be having this tonight!

  3. Susan, this just lemony soup just sounds so perfect to warm up on these chilly February evenings! I could eat chicken soup of any type forever! Doesn't lemon just make chicken recipes come alive? I love Greek food too! Now that you've posted this for the group, I've gone back in and added your url link to your recipe on my post.

  4. OMG I love eveything with lemon...
    This looks delicious

  5. When I was in my twenties and working in the city, a favorite place to eat our lunches was at the local Greek restaurants. Lowell has a history of welcoming immigrants into the community and have welcomed their share of wonderful Greek cooks. Avgolemono soup and Moussaka was our average lunch. I love your heartier version. It's fun to take a traditional recipe and make it our own. Looks delicious!

  6. This looks like just what we will be needing this weekend... Spring isn't here yet, but with the flavor of lemon~ maybe we can fool Mother Nature!

  7. I like the tip of adding the rice in after it cooks so the soup isn't cloudy. It sounds like a comforting and delicious soup and the bread sticks look like the perfect soup dippers.

  8. good tip on the rice! I remember having this soip when I visited greece last year, and loved how light and fresh it was. love your take on the classic :) and let's hope spring comes soon!

  9. This looks so good! I will definitely try it on my next round of chicken soup before winter is over!

  10. In this very basic avgolemono soup (it seems as though there are as many adaptions as there are Greek folks), rice gets cooked in a simple chicken broth. The soup is flavored with lots of lemon and thickened with eggs. It’s the perfect way to start a dinner party… it elegant but won’t fill you up. But if you’re looking for a more substantial soup, feel free to increase the amount of rice, or throw in some shredded chicken or chunks of carrots, onions or celery.


  11. This is one of our favourite soups. We ate it every other day when we were in Greece a few years ago and never tired of it.


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