Welcome to #LemonWeek 2022 hosted by Lynn from Fresh April Flours and Rebecca from Devour Dinner. This week is sponsored by Rodelle and La Tourangelle. I may have received product samples from these sponsors to help in the creation of my recipes. All opinions are my own.
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I have a confession. I am one of two (non-vegetarian) people on this planet who don’t like chicken soup. Sadly, for me, it’s not that exciting.
But what if there were a chicken soup that’s just as warming and comfort filled–but a little more robust in the flavor department?
A past favorite is my Sage Roasted Chicken Soup, a creamy soup with a flavor boost from the sage (think Thanksgiving stuffing)!
And today I am making my Greek Egg Lemon Soup again. Because it’s amazing how much a little egg and lemon can punch up a soup! The broth becomes thicker and silkier and the flavor is rich and complex!
What is Egg Lemon Soup and Why Did You Add Spinach?
According to Wikipedia “Avgolemono or egg–lemon is a family of sauces and soups made with egg yolk and lemon juice mixed with broth, heated until they thicken. They are found in Greek, Arab, Sephardic Jewish, Turkish, Balkan and Jewish-Italian cuisine.”
I was lucky to have a childhood full of delicious ethnic foods. A favorite memory is the time my parents spontaneously decided they needed Greek food for dinner–before the days of the ubiquitous Greek Restaurant. They packed us up and drove from the suburbs into the city where we landed at a Greek grocer. It was so much fun! And seriously tasty!
But on to the spinach. One of the questions I like to ask when I cook is “Can I add a vegetable to this?” I’ve been counting my “5-a-day” servings of fruits and vegetables for
decades, err years and am always happy when I find an easy way to get another one in! So I added spinach, which is used a lot in Greek cooking and is delicious in this soup!
Why You’ll Love This!
Flavorful. The Greeks topped lots of dishes with Egg Lemon sauce because it is delicious! If it works as a sauce, think how good it must be as a soup!
Healthy and Comforting. You get the comfort and goodness of chicken soup in a new format. Plus the addition of healthy spinach!
Easy. There are some recipes that cook a whole raw chicken with this. But mine relies on pre-cooked broth and chicken so is quicker and easier. I even have a workaround for tempering the eggs! (Tempering is adding eggs to hot liquid and whisking like a madman hoping they won’t curdle.) Really, there’s an easier way.
What You’ll Need
- Chicken broth. This is the base of the soup. You can use vegetable broth (and omit the chicken) to make a vegetarian Egg Lemon Soup.
- Orzo or rice. This provides texture and the starch adds some thickening. I made my Greek Lemon Soup with Rice this time but I’ve also used Orzo.
- Cut up cooked chicken. This adds flavor, texture and protein. This can be omitted for a Vegetarian soup or to make a lighter soup.
- Lemon juice. I strongly recommend fresh for the best flavor.
- 4 eggs. This thickens the soup.
- Dried dill. This adds flavor and you can use fresh if you have it.
- Julienned spinach. Ups the health value–and I think it looks and tastes good!
- No special tools are required, though an instant read thermometer is nice to have.
Step by Step Directions
In a medium saucepan, cook the brown rice or orzo in 1 cup of chicken broth until just tender. This will take about 10 minutes for orzo and about 35 minutes for natural brown rice. For processed rice times, consult the packaging. When tender, remove from the heat and stir the chicken into the saucepan.
Beat the eggs, then whisk in the remaining 3 cups of broth and the lemon juice. Stir the egg mixture into the saucepan with the chicken and rice.
Place the saucepan back on medium heat and stir until thickened, about 10 minutes. If you have an instant read thermometer, you can check for a temperature of 165F. When thickened, add the julienned spinach and dill, cover and let sit for about 5 minutes until the spinach is wilted.
How to Serve
A small bowl or cup of this soup would make an excellent first course since it’s not too heavy. You can omit the chicken for a lighter soup and it will still be delicious.
Of course, for a nice lunch, there is always the classic combinations of soup and (half or whole) sandwich.
It even makes an excellent main course soup since it has chicken, rice or pasta and even a vegetable right. In that case a basket of muffins or a loaf of crusty bread or is a wonderful accompaniment. Perhaps with some cheese.
Feel free to add a salad like this farm inspired Greek Salad to any of these options.
This soup is easy to convert to vegetarian. Just use a flavorful vegetable broth and omit the chicken.
Or if you simply want a lighter soup, you can also skip the chicken.
Out of spinach? I used kale when there the farmer’s market was out of spinach. If you do use kale, add it with the chicken since it needs more time to tenderize.
And if you’d rather have an egg lemon soup with beef—in the form of meatballs even, take a look at my seriously delicious Greek Meatballs in Egg Lemon Broth.
This will keep for a few days in your refrigerator. When you reheat it, just be sure that it doesn’t come to a boil because the egg can still curdle. You can heat it on the stovetop, stirring periodically until just hot. To reheat in the microwave, heat in bursts and stir in between or the soup may boil and curdle around the edges of the bowl.
I’ve never tried freezing this but have read that it freezes well. As with refrigerated soup, care must be taken in reheating to see that the soup doesn’t boil.
Tips and FAQs
I usually use an instant read thermometer and heat the soup to 165 F. This is the temperature at which a whole egg is cooked. Learn more about how an egg cooks (whites vs yolks, etc.) here!
Monday #LemonWeek Recipes
- Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf by Fresh April Flours
- Grilled Asparagus with Lemon and Feta by Palatable Pastime
- Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake No Churn Ice Cream by Blogghetti
- Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Egg Lemon Soup with Spinach by Art Of Natural Living
- Lemon Shortbread Bars by Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Lemon Butter Salmon by Cheese Curd In Paradise
- Lemon Curd by Devour Dinner
- Lemon Curd Cookies by Best Cookie Recipes
- Lemon Donuts by The Freshman Cook
- Lemon Fruit Dip by Simply Inspired Meals
- Lemonade Bundt Cake by The Fresh Cooky
- Lemon Ginger Chicken Thighs by A Day In The Life On The Farm
- Gluten-Free Lemon Almond Cake by The Spiffy Cookie
- Creamy Lemon Basil Shrimp Pasta by An Affair From The Heart
- Lemon Cupcakes by Kathryn’s Kitchen Blog
- 15 Minute Lemon Pasta by Jen Around The World
- Lemon Cheesecake by Lemon Blossoms
- Lemon Smoothie by Home Cooked Harvest
- Aromatic Lemon Chicken by That Recipe
- Lemon Pound Cake by The Redhead Baker
- Lemon Muffins with Lemon Drizzle by Jonesin’ For A Taste
- Lemon Garlic Pasta by Magical Ingredients
Egg lemon Soup (Avgolemono) with Spinach
- 4 cups chicken broth divided
- 1/3 cup Orzo or ¼ cup rice
- 1 ½ cups chicken cubed
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 4 eggs
- ½ teaspoon dried dill
- 2 cups julienned spinach
- In a medium saucepan, cook the brown rice or orzo in 1 cup of chicken broth until just tender. This will take about 10 minutes for orzo and about 35 minutes for natural brown rice. For processed rice times, consult the packaging.
- When tender, remove from the heat and stir the chicken into the rice (or orzo ) and broth mixture.
- Beat the eggs, then whisk in the remaining 3 cups of broth and the lemon juice. Stir the egg mixture into the saucepan with the chicken and rice.
- Place the saucepan back on medium heat and stir until thickened, about 10 minutes. If you have an instant read thermometer, you can check for a temperature of 165F.
- Add the julienned spinach and dill, cover and let sit for about 5 minutes until the spinach is wilted.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Copycat Dairy Queen Blizzard (M&M or Oreo)
- Easiest Crepes with Lemon Curd