Avgolemono Soup with Chicken and Orzo

Okay, so where should I start with this soup?

Let’s start with the name, which is pronounced Ahv-go-leh-MAN-o.

I think.

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

Avgolemono Soup with Chicken and Orzo

Avgolemono Soup with Chicken and Orzo

Ingredients

6 cups chicken broth (I like the boxed Imagine and Pacific brands)
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup uncokked orzo
4 large eggs
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup shredded carrot
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
8 ounces cooked chicken breast, shredded into bite-sized pieces

Directions

1. Bring broth and dill to a boil in large saucepan and add orzo. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and remove one cup of broth from the pot (without any orzo in it.) Let it cool for 5 minutes.
2. Put eggs and juice in blender and process until smooth and frothy. With blender on, slowly pour the one cup of cooled broth that you removed from the pot into the blender and process until smooth. This is to thin out the eggs a little more so they will blend in to the soup obediently later on.
3. Add carrot, salt, pepper and chicken to the broth and orzo in the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes or until orzo is tender. Reduce heat to low.
4. Slowly pour in egg mixture, stirring constantly, until soup is heated through, about 1-2 minutes. Do not let it boil or you may get the dreaded curdling. If you do, remind yourself that it is still going to taste just fine.
5, Ladle into bowls and serve at once.

Comments

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  1. Sarah Alexander says:

    I studied abroad in Athens, Greece. It's pronounced Ahv-go-LEH-man-o. But either way you pronounce it, it's delicious!

  2. Anything with this much lemon juice and this crazy a name has to be delicious. It's the way of the world.

  3. PoetessWug says:

    Looks very interesting…I love new chicken soup recipes. :-)

  4. This is my partner's favorite dish! We usually cook it with regular rice instead of orzo, though I bet the orzo is good too.

  5. That's a pretty bowl of soup!

  6. Easy Chicken Recipes says:

    Excellent chicken recipe thanks for sharing. I really enjoy reading your blog very much.

  7. Laurie Palanza Iseman says:

    I made this once years ago when I was deathly ill with the flu. I all of a sudden has this craving for it, (I'd had a few time at a place where I was working at that time) so I looked up a recipe and made it. Yours looks wonderful, and thanks for reminding about this wonderful soup, I'll have to try it again.

  8. Anonymous says:

    According to Food Lover's Companion, it's pronounced ahv-goh-LEH-moh-noh. But yum any way you say it!

  9. teresacooks says:

    I made this tonight. It was really good! My kids kept asking what made it so creamy. But I didn't mention the eggs because I knew they would drop their spoons and run. Thanks for the recipe.

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