But it did absolutely feel like the kind of day where the bright taste of lemon would be perfect. So I decided to make a version of Greek Egg and Lemon Soup (Avgolemono). And to be honest, part of my decision was fueled by the fact that I had a rotisserie chicken chilled in the fridge and needed to use it.
Now, before you look at my recipe and go all Greek-Grandma-Ninja on me, I will fully admit that I have never had this soup before and am not sure at all what an authentic version would taste like. I do know, however, that whatever you want to call this, I am seriously grooving on it.
I started by looking at a couple of different recipes. The New England Soup Factory Cookbook: More Than 100 Recipes from the Nation's Best Purveyor of Fine Soup used a great technique for creating egg "ribbons" which I liked. But their soup only used one cup of cooked chicken for 10 cups of broth, and I wanted a lot more protein. Also, they used spinach, and I'm more of a kale girl myself. (I suspect at some point in the future I will wax enthusiastically on and on about kale, so you might want to mentally prepare yourself for that.) The cookbook Soup for Every Body: Low-Carb, High-Protein, Vegetarian, and More included onions, carrots, and celery, which added color and another flavor base. Now I had a good starting point!
First things first... dice and chop and prep.
Then begin! Sautee a cup of diced onions in 2 Tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil in a soup pot until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add one clove of pressed garlic, and sautee another 30 seconds. Then add 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, one peeled and diced carrot, and one diced stalk of celery. Sautee for 2-3 more minutes, or until vegetables are beginning to soften.
Smells like the start of soup!
Add 6 cups of chicken stock. No, I didn't make my own. Yes, I'm okay with that. Bring to a boil, and when it's boiling, add 1/2 cup of orzo. Simmer for 5 minutes until the orzo is almost cooked, but not quite al dente yet.
Now comes the fun part... egg ribbons! Whisk 3 large eggs in a small bowl, and drizzle into the simmering soup, stirring the whole time. Lovely shreds of eggs will form in the soup. It looks like a lot, I know, but when you add the remaining ingredients it will all blend nicely.
Once the egg ribbons are formed you add the rest of your soup ingredients. 6 Tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 Tablespoons of grated lemon zest, 4 cups chopped cooked chicken (which coincidentally is exactly what I got from my Costco rotisserie chicken... imagine that!), and 2 cups packed chopped kale. Continue to gently simmer until the kale is wilted, chicken is cooked through, and the orzo is tender. Taste, and adjust your seasonings. I like things pretty darn lemony, so I snuck in another tablespoon of lemon juice, but most people don't like things as tangy as I do.
Waiting for the kale to cook down... kind of impatiently.
The best part about this is how terrifically high in protein it is. I ran the numbers and a one-cup serving has nearly 30 grams of protein (I got 29.8) which means that my half-cup portion is good for about 15 grams of protein served up in lemony deliciousness.
Greek-Style Egg, Lemon, and Chicken Soup with Orzo and Kale
Adapted from New England Factory Cookbook and Soup for Every Body
Makes 10 cups
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 c. diced onion
1 clove of garlic, pressed
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1/4 t. dried thyme
6 c. chicken stock (I prefer Swanson's Natural Goodness)
1/2 c. orzo
3 eggs, whisked together in a small bowl
6 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 T. grated lemon zest (from about 2 large, or 3 smaller lemons)
4 c. chopped cooked chicken
2 c. packed chopped kale, ribs removed
Heat olive oil in soup pot until hot, but not smoking. Add onions and sautee until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and sautee 30 seconds longer. Add thyme, carrots, and celery, and continue to sautee until vegetables are almost softened, about 3-5 minutes longer.
Add chicken broth to pot and bring to a boil. When boiling, add orzo and simmer for 5 minutes.
Gently pour whisked eggs in a slow stream into simmering soup, stirring constantly to create egg ribbons. Once ribbons have formed, add lemon juice, zest, chicken and kale, and continue to simmer until kale is cooked, chicken is heated through, and orzo is tender, about 5 minutes.
Taste, and adjust salt and pepper as needed.