Looking for a nice cold remedy? Chicken soup is an oldie but a goodie! But how about shaking things up with a traditional Greek Egg Lemon Soup (Avgolemono). Even better embellished with dill and some healthy shredded spinach!
My husband has been suffering from a bad cold for the past week. A fever of 102F. Sniffles. Even pink eye!
So after a week of hot tea and vaporizers, it was time to call out the big guns–homemade soup! Since the upcoming Easter holiday has me thinking of eggs (and I am one of three non-vegetarians on the planet who don’t like chicken soup), Egg Lemon Soup won the toss.
Egg Lemon soup is a rich, thick, lemony soup containing rice or orzo pasta. It is a traditional Greek dish that I first tasted in a childhood blessed with occasional Greek fine dining. I feel lucky to have grown up at a time when bits of the “old country” were everywhere. Neighborhood grocers and local ethnic restaurants, with even Summerfest, Milwaukee’s rock music extravaganza, brining me onstage in kilt and ghillies, along with scores of other ethnic dancers.
So it was fun and nostalgic to test this recipe, experimenting with different ratios of egg and lemon to get a soup that tasted like I remembered. I even got scientific on the thickening, bypassing the customary tempering that troubles many cooks (instead mixing my eggs with cool broth), then using a thermometer (just this once) while thickening. (See here for the science behind going to approximately 165F.)
The soup was quick and easy–ready in about 15 minutes! Yes, I would happily share a bed tray of this!
Finally, in my best “can I add another vegetable to this” tradition, I added some julienned spinach at the end. This adds nutrition and has the side benefit of slowing the cooking when you’ve reached the proper temperature/thickness. And if you are looking for a main course, feel free to add diced chicken!
- • 2 cups chicken broth, divided (see note)
- • 1/4 cup uncooked orzo (or rice or other small pasta)
- • 2 large eggs
- • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 small lemon)
- • 1/2 teapsoon dried dill
- • 1 cup loosely packed julienned spinach (see note)
- • salt to taste (I used ¼ teaspoon with lightly salted homemade broth)
- Bring half of the broth (1 cup) to boil in saucepan. Add orzo (or rice) and simmer, covered, until just tender, about 8 minutes (longer for rice). Remove from heat.
- Lightly beat the egg, lemon juice and remaining broth together.
- Slowly pour the hot broth and orzo into the egg and broth mixture, whisking the entire time to avoid curdling. Return the mixture to the saucepan.
- Place saucepan back on medium heat, and stir continuously for about 5-10 minutes until soup is thickened (should reach about 160-165 F—do not boil).
- Remove from heat, stir in dill and julienned spinach, then let sit covered until spinach is just wilted, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust salt, dill or lemon as needed.
- Serve immediately.
- To julienne spinach easily, you can stack about 6 leaves, roll them up and slice the rolls.
- My homemade broth is extra rich/concentrated so I diluted it with water to ensure the egg and lemon flavors came through.