Greek Avgolemono Soup

By Diane Rossen Worthington | March 20th, 2024

Satisfying, healing, and seriously simple


This lively lemon egg soup has been a staple in Greece for centuries. Creamy and pungent with lemon flavor, Avgolemono soup must be Greece’s answer to other national comfort chicken soups. The rice and egg yolks add both texture and thickening to the simple broth.

This lively lemon egg soup has been a staple in Greece for centuries. Creamy and pungent with lemon flavor, Greek Avgolemono soup must be the country’s answer to other national comfort chicken soups.

You might be surprised to learn that this celebrated Greek soup has its roots in Spanish Sephardic history. Apparently, it made its way from Spain to Greece during the Spanish Inquisition, according to culinary historian Claudia Roden. You can find different versions in Turkey and throughout the Middle East. There is also an Avgolemono sauce that is popular to accompany chicken or fish.

Recently I had one of those late winter colds that spread across our entire household. I, of course, wanted my fallback chicken matzo ball soup; but I decided to look at other comforting possibilities. I remembered this Seriously Simple soup that I had many years ago and decided to cook it up, adding spring herbs to give it a fresh finish. Not only was it satisfyingly tasty, but it felt healing.

I recommend this soup no matter how you are feeling – it’s that good. The rice and egg yolks add both texture and thickening to the simple broth. An extra touch of lemon zest reinforces the fresh lemon flavor.

Once you have added the egg yolks, make sure to keep the heat on low and do not let the soup boil or it will curdle. This soup is also good served just warm because the soup thickens a bit more as it cools. Long grained rice works best for this recipe as the grains remain fluffy and separate.

Avgolemono Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups good quality chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup long grain white rice
  • 4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped lemon zest
  • Salt and ground white pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped spring herbs (dill, tarragon, chives and parsley), for garnish
  • Lemon slice, for garnish

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan bring the stock to a boil on medium-high heat. Add the rice and cook, uncovered for about 15 minutes or until the rice is tender.
  2. Combine the egg yolks in a medium bowl and add the lemon juice and the lemon zest. Whisk them together until well combined.
  3. Slowly add a cup of the hot stock to the egg mixture, whisking constantly to avoid any curdling. This will temper the eggs.
  4. Reduce the heat of the stock to medium-low and slowly add the tempered egg yolk mixture into the stock, stirring for about 3 to 4 minutes or until it is slightly thickened. Do not boil. Season with salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning.
  5. To serve: Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with chopped herbs and a lemon slice. Serve immediately.

Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including “Seriously Simple: Easy Recipes for Creative Cooks” and “Seriously Simple Parties,” and a James Beard Award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at www.seriouslysimple.com.

© 2024 Diane Rossen Worthington. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

More cookbook recommendations from Diane Rossen Worthington, including ‘Jew-ish: Reinvented Recipes from a Modern Mensch’

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