I love making soups, especially when I am catering. They can be complicated multi-component creations, or something incredibly simple. It’s so cold in the Northeast right now and we all need a little comfort food. The holidays are essentially over and we are moving into what I describe as a black and white life. There is basically zero color around us. The ground is brown, the sky is grey, and everything is pretty much dreary. The key is to bring a lot of color and flavor into your life!
Let’s talk about soup: I like to start at the bottom, and build my favors. Whether making a simple tomato or potato, or a multi-ingredient Thai, you need a solid mirepoix, or base. Begin with vegetables like celery, carrot and onion. I am very partial to garlic, and that almost always gets added as well.
For this soup I am only going to “sweat” the onion. That means I am only going to release the liquid from the onion and soften it.
Let’s take a quick moment to talk about stock. I am a little partial to using the Better Than Bouillon brand. I use it frequently, giving me more control over the flavor. I find that pre-mixed stocks contain a high level of sodium, mainly to help keep them shelf stable. The paste is the next best thing, unless you have the time and space to make your own stock.
The next part gives the soup it’s iconic flavor. “Avgo” means egg, and “lemono” is of course the lemon. The best way to do this is to combine it all with a little rice, and blend. Then slowly incorporate it back in.
The last part is creating your dish. The classic combination is chicken and rice, but you can easily swap out the chicken for beans and/or broccoli. Both work beautifully.
Garnish with fresh dill and you are set.
If you feel like a little salad to go along with your soup creation, I have another super easy idea. Starting out with some day old bread cubes, toss them with chopped tomato, bell pepper, cucumber and a little red onion. Dress it with red wine vinaigrette and give it a good mix. Let it sit for 15 minutes to allow the bread to soak up the tomato and dressing. Just before serving add in some lettuce, crumbled feta, oregano and kalamata olives!
Would you like to see me making this? Check out my Instagram video when you get a chance.
My version goes a little off book from the traditional. I encourage you to make this one your own. Start with the egg-lemon base and see where it takes you.
1 cup ¼” diced carrot
1 cup ¼ “ diced celery
1 cup ¼” diced onion
¼ cup avocado oil
Ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 cups stock, broth or Better than Bouillon, see note
2 lemons, zested and juiced
2½ cups cooked white rice or orzo, room temperature, see note
2 egg yolks
4 cups shredded leftover rotisserie chicken, see note
Fresh parsley, chopped
In a large soup pot, over medium heat, add the carrot, celery and onion and oil. Season with a good pinch of salt and pepper and saute for 5 minutes. When the onion starts to sweat add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds to a minute.
Add the stock or 5 cups of water and 1 heaping tablespoon of Better than Bouillon. Bring to a low simmer for about 10 minutes.
Transfer 1 cup of the broth to a tall, narrow container along with ½ cup of rice, the zest and lemon juice. Using an immersion (stick) blender puree the liquid and rice. Slowly add in the egg yolks and blend well. See note.
Stir the puree into the pot and simmer for 5-10 minutes to thicken slightly. Don’t let the soup get to a high boil otherwise it will curdle. Taste for seasoning. Add additional salt, pepper and a touch more Better than Bouillon if desired.
Meanwhile divide the shredded chicken and remaining rice between four bowls. Divide the stock and vegetables between the bowls and lightly mix with a spoon to spread them evenly. Garnish with dill and parsley.
Cook’s notes: I love using Better than Bouillon in my soup base. You can control the flavor intensity and the salt. Pre-made stocks lean to a very heavy salt content.
You can use a rice of choice or orzo. Just cook it ahead of time, rather than in the pot. It will soak up your liquid and turn the broth gummy.
If you don’t have an immersion blender you can use a regular blender. The goal is to emulsify the thickener.
This recipe can easily be made vegetarian. Swap the chicken for white beans, cannellini or chickpeas, or even broccoli.