“Avgolemono” or egg-lemon soup in English is something that every Cypriot household makes. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s a soup well-loved by many. It’s a comforting soup. A soup made with a sort of frothy lemon flavoured broth. The typical ingredients being chicken and rice. It’s also a soup that is traditionally enjoyed around Easter. Or, in my case, when one is at home with a cold. Colds. Bah Humbug. Wait, that’s for Christmas. But that’s how I feel about being sick. When I am sick, I feel like my cold is going to last forever. I can’t imagine being able to breathe through both nostrils. And I am so happy when – for brief moments – I CAN breathe through both nostrils. Hurray. I have my “cures” just like everyone else. I make soups, drink fruit juices, slather on Vicks’ Vapour Rub and watch Star Wars and try to channel the force to cure my cold. I’m not sure that any of my cures work, except the Star Wars one. (Ha). Anyway, cold cure #23 was to make “avgolemono” soup. Don’t you think that there is something to be said about having someone, like your mom, make you soup when you have a cold? There is that additional comfort factor that I think contributes to the healing process. Maybe it’s because I always remember my mom making this soup when I was a little girl. I remember she would always place these big bowls of “avgolemono” on the kitchen table and call us to sit down to eat our dinner. The soup was hot. But the egg was never curdled. My mom had her technique, like all moms do, which made the soup a gorgeous yellow colour.
We would slurp it all down – entirely unaware of the effort that goes into making such things. Anyway, one thing I love about “avgolemono” is the fact that you can make it as light or heavy as you wish. If you want it on the heavier side, add more chicken and rice. My cold is gone, but I still find myself craving “avgolemono” on cold days. It’s a good soup. And I hope you enjoy it.
7 cups of good homemade chicken broth
3/4 cup rice
1/2 cup cold water
1 tbs water
2 large eggs or 3 small eggs
juice of 1 large lemon
salt and pepper to taste
boiled fresh garden peas and freshly ground black pepper as garnish (optional)
1. In a medium pot, pour your chicken broth. (I usually use chicken drumsticks when making my chicken broth, and simply take some pieces of the cooked drumstick and add it to my strained chicken stock to form the base of this soup. Then I add my rice. You could also add pieces of raw chicken to an already made chicken stock, but ensure that the chicken is fully cooked prior to adding your rice.) Add your chicken pieces (from what you used to make the chicken broth) and the rice. Cook the rice in the chicken broth until it is ready. After the rice is ready, lower the temperature and add 1/2 a cup of cold water.
2. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with lemon juice until frothy. Add 1 tbs water to this eggs and lemon juice mixture.
3. Start adding 1 to 2 cups of the broth slowly (slowly is important to prevent any curdling!) in the egg mixture a little at a time, continually beating it so that it doesn’t curdle.
4. Pour the egg mixture slowly back into the soup pot constantly stirring it to prevent curdling. Slowly raise the temperature of the soup and stir it a few more times. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.
5. Optional: boil some shelled green peas and add them in the soup when you serve it. Add freshly ground black pepper on top of the soup for extra flavour.