Okay, so where should I start with this soup?
Let’s start with the name, which is pronounced Ahv-go-leh-MAN-o.
It’s Greek, and I am Irish-American, and so I am on shaky ground here. I’ve now picked out the recipe, made the recipe, photographed the recipe, eaten the recipe, and I am STILL asking the Southern husband how to both pronounce and spell it.
So next I should tell you that I posted on my Facebook page that I would be making this soup for dinner, and I got a whole string of comments in response. Which were pretty evenly divided between people who (based on the word avgolemeno) had NO idea what I was cooking in my kitchen these days, and people who knew exactly what it was and left all kinds helpful advice about combining eggs with hot broth. Because the base of this recipe is a mixture of chicken broth, lemon juice and beaten eggs, and if you are not both EXTREMELY CAREFUL and EXTREMELY LUCKY, you will mess the whole thing up by adding the beaten eggs to the hot broth and the whole thing will curdle and the world as we know it will come to an end.
I was actually worried for a few minutes, and then I remembered this happy fact: recipes are pretty much all about Following The Directions, and if you do this, you will almost always end up with something that looks like the picture in the cookbook. Which is what I did, and which is exactly what i ended up with. So do not, I repeat do NOT be afraid.
Lastly and most importantly: this soup is SO amazingly easy and delicious that you (if you are me) will have one of those moments where you smack yourself on the forehead and wonder how you have managed to live all these years without knowing about it and making it and eating it at every possible opportunity. The soup is as healthy as you can get – the ingredients are pretty much chicken broth, a few eggs, lemon juice, chicken, shredded carrots, a handful of orzo pasta and some herbs – but because of how it is put together, it comes out in this rich, creamy format that feels positively sinful. If you didn’t know better, you would swear that there was a boatload of heavy cream lurking in this one…but there isn’t! Not a drop! That in and of itself makes this worth a try.
So…ahv-go-leh-MAN-no. Go for it. Eating is believing!
Avgolemono Soup with Chicken and Orzo, adapted from Cooking Light’s The Essential Dinner