Monday, January 27, 2014

One Great . . . lemony chicken soup

Saying the word "avgolemono" always reminds me of playing jump rope when I was a kid. You'd hold up your hands and sway a couple of times to get the rhythm of the turning rope before you jumped in. When I join a group of co-workers for lunch once a week at Greek Isle, I have to kind of pause and sway before I put in my order for a cup of avgolemono, working myself up to pronouncing it. 

Still, I love the combination of chicken, rice and lemon enough to risk tripping up and getting stuck halfway into the word in front of my work friends. 

Stumbling into an easy version of the recipe recently gave me an excuse to have it several times in one week without having to ask a waitress for it. For that, I'll jump with joy. 

Shortcut Lemon Chicken Soup

Adapted from Food Network magazine. You could use leftover rotisserie chicken. If you have time and you're using boxed chicken stock, simmer the bones and skin from the chicken with the stock first to boost the chicken flavor. 

1 tablespoon good-quality olive oil
5 green onions, chopped, white and green parts separated
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/4 cup diced celery
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1/2 cup long-grain white rice
Salt and pepper to taste
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cups cooked chicken

HEAT 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the white part of the green onions, the carrots and the celery. Cook, stirring, until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock, rice, 2 cups water and about 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 12 to 15 minutes, until the rice and vegetables are tender. 

WHISK the eggs and lemon juice in a small bowl. Slowly ladle about 1 cup of the hot broth into the bowl, whisking constantly. Stir the cooked chicken into the pot, then whisk in the egg-broth mixture. Return soup to a gentle simmer, stirring, until thickened, then remove from heat. Stir in the green onion tops and taste soup, adding more salt and pepper if needed. 

SERVE hot.

YIELD: 4 servings.