Avgolemono, Greek lemon soup
Today’s recipe cannot be simpler, more surprising and delicious. Without a doubt, these recipes should be kept in mind when the cold comes as it will be a great option to solve dinners or starters. It is a traditional Greek lemon and egg soup, Avgolemono.
Before I continue, I would like to clarify that this version is an adaptation of the traditional Greek avgolemono soup. The main base, which is the broth, is made in a traditional way, but the accompaniments have nothing to do with the classic method.
What is avgolemono?
Avgolemono refers to a type of sauce, very common in oriental Mediterranean cuisine, made with lemon juice, egg and broth. Ingredients that give rise to its name, in Greek avgolemono means egg and lemon. The broth must be preheated to blend with the egg and lemon juice mixture, so that it thickens slightly without curdling.
This recipe is believed to have originated in Sephardic Jewish cuisine, where it is called agristada sauce. This sauce was made by the Jews before its expulsion from the Iberian land by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492.
It can also be found in Arabic cuisine under the name of tarbiya or beida bi-lemoune, Turkish cuisine as terbiye and Italian cuisine as bagna brusca or brodettato.
What uses are given to avgolemono?
- Soups seasoning: Traditionally it is made with chicken broth but can also be found with meat, fish or vegetable broth. It is usually served with rice, orzo or tapioca with meat, usually chicken, and some dill. The final consistency varies depending on the taste, some preparations thicken them more by adding starch. One of the varieties of Greek avgolemonono soup is made from offal of lamb and is traditionally eaten to break the fast of Lent.
- Serve as a sauce: usually served on hot dolma, vegetables (especially artichokes) and preparations in which you need to thicken the sauces as dishes with pork, chicken or fish. In Italian cuisine it is served as a sauce to accompany pasta or meat.
It is a simple elaboration, but with an important step.
In spite of being a very simple recipe, there is one step that we must do well to avoid that the final result is not the desired one. The tempering of the eggs. If you usually make ice cream at home, this process will be very familiar.
Tempering is the process of adding a hot ingredient, in this case broth, to the eggs while while whisking vigorously. In this way, we slowly raise the temperature of the eggs enough to add them to the soup without these curdling.
My version of avgolemono.
Although the more traditional version must be fabulous, and I’m sure I’ll try it when winter comes, I decided to give it a change and adapt it to my taste. This version is a Greek-Moroccan fusion in which my aim was to create a light, fresh soup, but which in turn could be consumed hot.
The base is a silky smooth broth with a subtle citrus touch. I used alfalfa sprouts, feta cheese and preserved lemon to accompany it. Here I must point out that these last two ingredients should be added with caution, do not abuse them because they would become masters of the final flavor. They also provide a considerable saltiness.
To finish, just sprinkle with some fresh lemon thyme, otherwise thyme, and some freshly ground black pepper. Stunning.
Ingredients for 2 serves
Recipe adapted from Things I made Today
FOR THE SOUP:
- 12,35 oz (350 g) homemade chicken and vegetable broth
- 2 large eggs
- 0,7 oz (20 g) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ground black pepper to taste
- feta cheese
- alfalfa sprouts
- preserved lemon (link recipe)
- fresh lemon thyme
Make egg lemon soup.
- Pour the broth in a saucepan and place it in a medium heat, leave it until it comes to a soft boil.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl add the two eggs and whisk.
- Add the lemon juice and continue whisking the eggs.
- Once the broth begins to boil, remove from heat and proceed to integrate it with the eggs.
- Ladle a few amount of broth over the eggs while whisking vigorously. In this way, we temper the eggs and prevent them from curdling and forming lumps.
- Add another soup ladle and whisk again.
- Pour the mixture into the saucepan, place at medium low heat and leave for 3-4 minutes. During that time, we will whisk constantly. Note that the texture is slightly thick.
- Remove from the heat.
Serve the soup.
- Ladle the soup into 2 individuals serving bowls.
- Garnish with alfalfa sprouts, crumbled feta cheese and a few pieces of preserved lemon.
- Sprinkle with lemon thyme leaves and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper.
- Serve immediately.
- The broth we use to make soup is important. I recommend you to make it homemade instead of buying it canned, it has nothing to do with... In my case I made a broth with vegetables, chicken, ham and bones (it's the way they like it at home). But here, feel free to do what you like best.
- Eggs should be at room temperature, never cold. Otherwise, they will be able to curdle more easily due to the change in temperature.
- The tempering of the eggs must always be done, otherwise the egg will curdle and there will be threads left by the soup.
- The egg white tends to curdle before the yolks, to obtain a good result whiskt the eggs with energy while integrating the hot broth gradually.
- Once we have tempered the eggs and poured them back into the soup, we cannot bring that mixture back to the boil again. Just simmer.
- All seasonings are optional and adjusted to my personal taste. So don't hesitate to change the ingredient that you don't like or consider.
This Greek avgolemono soup will undoubtedly be one of your favorites, if you are not very classic flavors. In that case it will probably be different and you won't like it. It is a perfect option to serve as an entrée or supper (very light, you should accompany it with something else). Besides being able to serve it both hot and cold, this last one in summer better.
I think it could be perfectly labeled "Soul soup" because it's that kind of soup that conveys comfort. Let's go get this new week.