Especially if you already have chicken stock made and some leftover chicken that needs to be put to use, this is going to be your new favorite quick and easy chicken soup. This traditional Greek soup is bright, lightly creamy, and my ideal lunch on a cold winter day when I need something warm but not heavy. This is a rare soup in that it tastes best served immediately or soon thereafter; let it rest overnight in the fridge and it loses its lemony bite and tastes a bit flat.
Note: This soup is usually made with whole eggs, it can be made using just yolks for people with mild sensitivity to egg whites.
Lemon and Egg Chicken Soup (Avgolemono)
No special equipment necessary, though I made mine in my Dutch oven.
A 3 1/2ish pound chicken
Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 cups leeks chopped in small dice
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 egg yolks OR 3 whole eggs*
Juice from 2 very juicy lemons (3-4 Tablespoons)
Cooked white rice or orzo, optional, for serving
1. First, poach the chicken: Place the chicken in a large pot and add enough water to just cover the chicken. Add 1/2 tablespoon salt to the pot, bring to a simmer, and then immediately turn the temperature down so that the water is barely bubbling- just a few tiny bubbles every few seconds is sufficient. Poach the chicken until done- this should take roughly 45 minutes, but the time will vary depending on the pot size, size of the chicken, and how gentle of a poaching you achieve. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside until it is cool enough to handle.
2. Pour the broth from the poached chicken into a container and set aside. Wipe out the pot, and then add the olive oil and leeks to the pot and cook over medium heat for about five minutes or until the leeks are translucent. If they start to brown, turn down the heat.
3. While the leeks cook, cut the chicken breasts from the chicken and chop into small dice and set aside. Reserve the legs for another use, and save the carcass for stock. Measure out six cups of the broth you set aside and save the rest for another use.
4. Once the leeks are cooked, add the six cups of broth to the pot and bring to a simmer. Place the egg yolks/eggs in a heatproof bowl and whisk together with the lemon juice until smooth. Once the broth is simmering, use one hand to slowly pour a ladleful of broth into the bowl with the eggs while you whisk the eggs with the other hand. Add three or four more ladlefuls of broth to the eggs, whisking the entire time. Turn the heat on the broth to the lowest setting and then pour the egg mixture into the pot.
5. Add the diced chicken breast to the pot and stir the soup over very low heat for a minute to let the chicken heat through. Be sure to keep the soup moving to avoid the egg curdling over the heat. Once the chicken has warmed through, ladle the soup into serving bowls, either as is or over cooked rice or orzo.