Back in February I found out that I had been selected as a British Lion Eggs #ShortcutEggspert. Throughout the year, myself and the other Eggsperts will be set challenges to cook with eggs, and this month it’s all about main meals in 20 minutes!
The recipe I’ve decided to share this month is avgolemono, which is a Greek egg and lemon soup. You’ll find lots of different ways to make this, but I make mine (as my grandmother did) with chicken stock, rice, eggs, lemon, salt and a sprinkling of cinnamon on the top.
She would always make chicken stock from scratch – and that way we’d have pieces of chicken to put in the soup; but that doesn’t make for a quick meal. So instead, I used good quality ready made chicken stock, and in doing that I can make this soup in about 15 minutes!
The eggs are used to thicken the soup, and you have to be careful when making this to bring the eggs up to the temperature of the stock so that they don’t cook quickly and scramble – you don’t want bits of egg floating in your soup – not very pleasant at all! But don’t worry, I’ve got some photos along with a video to teach you how to make avgolemono!
This is a great all year round soup – it’s comforting and warming in the winter months, but the lemon flavour makes it delicious and refreshing in the summer months. Make it with your own chicken stock and it’s the Greek equivalent to Jewish Penicillin (chicken soup), it’s the one dish we all would request as children when we were not well!
You start your soup by cooking rice in a pan of chicken stock – I use basmati rice and it takes about 10 minutes to simmer. Don’t wash your rice first – you want the starch in it to help thicken the soup.
Whilst the rice is cooking, I get my egg and lemon mixture ready by whisking eggs and lemon juice together. As a general rule of thumb, I use the juice of one lemon to two eggs. But this will vary on the size of the lemon. I like my avgolemono to be lemony in flavour, so use quite a lot of lemon juice. The lemons I bought from the supermarket were average in size. I guess I should have measured them, but you already know that I’m terrible for that sort of thing and just eyeball everything! I actually made this soup twice – once yesterday and once today so that I could work out exactly how much rice and stock to use!! First time I’ve ever done that!
When the rice is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and leave it for a couple of minutes. I then start adding the hot stock into the egg and lemon mixture, a ladle at a time, whisking continually so that the eggs don’t set. I generally keep adding stock until I run out of it in the pan. This way I make sure that the eggs really are brought up to temperature. I whisk everything together in a jug – makes pouring it back into the pan a lot easier.
The now warm eggs, lemon and stock then get poured back into the pan and seasoned with a little salt. If you work quickly there is no need to reheat the soup, but if you do reheat it, make sure you do it gently and stir to stop the eggs from setting – like I said earlier, you do not want bits of cooked egg floating in this soup!
I’ve made a quick demonstration video to show you how it’s done!
Divide the soup between warmed bowls and serve immediately. In my family, we eat avgolemono with cinnamon sprinkled on top. But you can leave that off if you want. You could crack some fresh black pepper over it instead.
If you have the time to make your own chicken stock, then boil a whole chicken with some onions, carrot and a tomato, perhaps some oregano…however you like really, there are no hard and fast rules!
As I said earlier, I make my avgolemono with chicken stock, but it can also be made with fish, lamb or vegetable stock.
I haven’t made this soup for ages and forgot how tasty it is. It’s got such a lovely lemon flavour and the eggs make it creamy and smooth. It’s quite filling, so ideal as a main meal – more so if you add cooked chicken. It can also be eaten as a starter, which we often do at the Greek Orthodox Easter.
I do hope you give this egg lemon soup a try! It may seem scary to bring the eggs to temperature, but once you have the hang of it, it is so easy to make – and delicious too!
I was recently in a Google Hangout with BritMums and some of the other #ShortcutEggsperts, which you can watch on YouTube. I’ve never done a Google Hangout before, but it was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot from everyone who was involved, make sure you take a look!
When shopping for eggs, look for British Lion Quality eggs which are marked on the box as well as on the eggshells. British Lion Quality eggs are guaranteed to be from British hens, vaccinated against salmonella and are fully traceable. The eggs are also marked with a best before date so you know when they are at their freshest.
My soup recipe along with other #ShortcutEggsperts recipes can be found on www.eggrecipes.co.uk
I’ve got more Easy Soup Recipes for you to enjoy – right click and open these other recipes in a new tab so that you can read them after this one!