One of my favorite soups growing up, and still to this day, is a traditional Greek soup called "Avgolemono". Don't let the long Greek name throw you off, my family has always called this soup "Soupa". Creative aren't we?
This is my go-to soup when I need a feel good, comforting meal. There is something about the smooth and creamy broth melting together with the citrus from the lemon that creates a rich and hearty soup.
My Yiayia would make Soupa every Sunday to feed the many mouths of our large Greek family. Partly because it was a Greek tradition, and also because this soup recipe doubles as a full meal.
Creamy soup, rice and roasted chicken, sounds like the perfect Sunday dinner to me!
Start with the chicken broth. Remove the bag inside the cavity of the bird and wash the chicken with water. Then place the bird in a large pot and fill with water until about an inch away from the rim. Season with salt, pepper, parsley and 3 tablespoons of butter. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a strong simmer and cook for one hour. Be sure to move the bird around while the water is coming to a boil to avoid sticking.
While your bird is cooking, collect the juice of 2 large lemons. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of lemon juice, but you are welcome to add more if you like a strong lemon flavor.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Once the chicken is done boiling, you are going to roast it in the oven to crisp it up a bit. Place the entire bird in a lightly greased baking pan, season (garlic powder, salt, pepper, oregano and paprika) and roast for 30 minutes. Trust me, the crispy, flavorful chicken is worth it!
Returning to the chicken broth, scrape the flavorful bits off the bottom of the pot. If you happen to find any large pieces of chicken skin in your broth, you may want to discard of those. Or you can keep the chicken skin, whatever makes you happy!
Then add 1 cup of water back to the broth, salt and pepper, a tablespoon of butter and return to a boil. Once boiling, stir in one cup of white rice and reduce heat to medium. Cook the rice at a simmer for 20 minutes.
Now that your homemade chicken broth is complete, you can give yourself a pat on the back! The Soupa is almost complete. The last step is adding the eggs. It will be easier if you place a large mixing bowl next to the broth pot and have a soup ladle ready.
Place 3 egg whites in a large mixing bowl. Beat with a hand beater until foamy. Then add one egg yolk at a time, constantly beating. Once all three egg yolks are added, add the lemon juice.
Make sure you are constantly beating throughout these steps.
Begin adding 3-4 ladles of soup broth, one ladle at a time, into the egg mixture while constantly beating. Avoid scooping out any rice during this step, you should only be adding broth. Pour egg mixture back into soup broth pot. Gently fold egg mixture into the soup broth. Voila, you have Soupa!
Lemon and Rice Soup with Chicken
5 lb Whole Chicken
4 Tbsp Butter Unsalted
Salt and Pepper
Seasonings: Parsley, Paprika, Garlic Powder, Oregano
1c. White Rice (I used Uncle Ben's Long Grain White Rice)
2 Whole Lemons (Need at least 1/2c. of lemon juice)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Wash whole chicken and remove giblet bag. Place chicken in a large pot and fill with water until water reaches 1 inch below the rim. Season water with salt, pepper, parsley and add 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Bring to a boil then reduce to a strong simmer and cook for 1 hour. While water is coming to a boil, frequently move the chicken around in the pot to avoid sticking.
Juice 2 whole lemons to collect at least 1/2 cup of lemon juice and set aside. You can use more lemon juice if you like a strong lemon flavor.
Once chicken is done boiling, remove chicken from pot and place on a lightly greased baking pan. Lightly season chicken with salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder and oregano. Roast chicken for 30 minutes.
Scrape the bottom of the chicken broth pot to loosen the flavorful bits. Remove any large pieces of chicken skin that may have been left over. Add 1 cup of water back to the broth and 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter. Season broth with salt and pepper and return to a boil. Once boiling, stir in 1 cup of white rice and reduce heat to medium-low. Let rice simmer for 20 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, beat 3 egg whites with a hand beater until foamy. Then add one egg yolk at a time, beating constantly.
Once egg yolks are added, add 1/2 cup of lemon juice.
Add 3-4 ladles, one at a time, of the soup broth only, do not add any rice. Make sure you are constantly beating during these steps.
Pour egg mixture back into soup broth pot and gently fold together.
Add chicken to soup and enjoy!