Avgolemono (Lemon Chicken-Rice Soup) with Seared Veggies
Doesn't this look great? Now you can enjoy lusciously lemon chicken-rice soup on a weeknight, by using a tasty cheat!
Avgolemono is a classic Greek soup. Chicken broth is lightly thickened with egg, and kissed with a touch of lemon. Many versions use orzo pasta (tiny grains that resemble rice), but I went with real rice. Then kicked it up a bit with some diced veggies sauteed until their edges were seared.
But don't let the fancy-schmancy description scare you off. This semi-homemade soup is easy enough to make on a weeknight with the not-so-secret cheat of store-bought broth. I put together a simple chicken dish (this one, if you really need to know, but with bone-in quarters rather than boneless), slid it into the oven, then started on this soup. Even with the dicing and all, soup was on the table before before the chicken finished baking!
Be sure to take the extra step and stir a little hot soup into the egg-lemon mixture before stirring the egg-lemon mixture back into the pot. This procedure of warming the eggs is called tempering, and prevents the egg from curdling as it hits the hot soup. While egg drop soup is still quite delicious, you want the soup to look as silky as it tastes.
Avgolemono Soup with Seared Veggies
Yield: 4 serving
Note: soup can be made in advance, covered and chilled up to 2 days. Soup will be rather thick. Stir in 1/2 cup water (or more if desired) before reheating.
4 cups chicken broth (reduced sodium preferred)
1 bay leaf
1 Tbl. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 carrot, cut into 1/4" coins
1/2 tsp. kosher salt (plus more to taste)
1/8 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper (plus more to taste)
1/3 cup uncooked rice
1 whole egg plus 1 egg yolk
juice from one lemon (approx. 1/4 cup)
Bring broth to a boil in 2-qt pot. Add rice and bay leaf. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until rice is cooked, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in 4-quart or larger pot at medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, salt and pepper; saute until veggies are seared on their edges, about 15 minutes, Stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low.
Remove and discard bay leaf. Remove 1/4 cup of the broth and set aside. Carefully pour remaining broth mixture over the sauteed veggies.
Whisk together egg, yolk, and lemon juice in a 2-cup measuring cup. Slowly whisk reserved broth mixture into the egg-lemon mixture. Then slowly pour the egg-broth mixture in a thin stream into the soup, stirring constantly. Simmer for another 5 minutes in order to thoroughly cook the egg and thicken the soup slightly. Taste and add additional salt and/or pepper to taste.
Ladle evenly into soup bowls. Serve hot.