We’ve had several consecutive rainy days here in Phoenix. Monsoon storms that dump sheets of rain and cause lots of flooding on our city streets. Phoenicians are not so accustomed to driving on wet roads and a soggy, desert commute can be dangerous. So what do you do on rainy-day-schedule?
You make a big pot of soup (even when the outdoor temperature still peaks in the triple digits) and you hole up at home with all your windows open. And you relish in the wetness because us desert-dwellers don’t see it often.
This unusually rainy weather came at a most opportune time. Miss Jacquelyn has a case of the sniffles and she lovingly shared her cooties with daddy. So a big pot of soup and some at home R&R are just what Dr. Mama ordered.
This is my take on the classic Greek avgolemono soup (my fave), only not quite as rich and creamy. I like it so much more than plain-old chicken noodle. The lemon brightens up the broth and adding an egg at the end gives it a little more body.
I don’t make my own stock but instead I simmer a whole chicken with veggies and herbs in organic chicken broth from a box. The result is a high flavor soup with melt in your mouth pieces of chicken. Steaming and delicious comfort to brighten up a dreary, sniffly day!
NOTE: You may want to leave out the lemon slices. They tend to give a slightly bitter taste to the broth but we actually like that depth of flavor, the bitterness is subtle but it’s there. You can eliminate it entirely by nixing the whole lemon slices from the boil and just adding the juice at the end.
Add the orzo, along with fresh, chopped carrots and celery to the broth. Beat an egg in a separate bowl until frothy, remove one cup of the hot broth and very slowly whisk it into the egg, just a tablespoon at a time. This step will warm the eggs to the soup temp without scrambling them. Once all the broth is added return the broth/egg to the pot and stir quickly. The broth should turn from clear to opaque-ish if you did it right.
Confession: sometimes I don’t get the egg step right. If you don’t, you will end up with eggy ribbons in your soup but it will still be delicious so don’t worry about it!
Add the juice of the lemon at this point. Make sure no seeds make it into t he pot. Allow to simmer for an additional 10 minutes and then add the chopped parsley!
Soup is on!
Chicken Soup with Lemon and Orzo
- 1 Lb. Skin-on, Bone-in Chicken Pieces
- 1 16 Oz. Box of Chicken Broth, Low Sodium
- 3 Cups of Water
- 1 1/2 Cup Orzo Pasta
- 2 Lemons, divided
- 2 Eggs
- 4 Large Carrots, divided
- 4 Celery Stalks, divided
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- 1 Large Onion
- 6 Sprigs of Thyme
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 Handful of Parsley
- 3 TBS Salt
- Heat a large pot on high and add chicken pieces. Sear the pieces for a few minutes, getting a nice brown on all sides.
- Prep and wash your veggies. Cut onion in half and remove roots and skin, cut 2 carrots and 2 celery stalks in half, remove skin from garlic cloves, cut one of the lemons in slices.
- Turn the heat down to medium low and add the herbs, salt and veggies to the pot.
- Cover pot and reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer for one hour.
- Using tongs remove chicken pieces and allow to cool in a separate bowl.
- Strain the veggies from the pot and discard.
- Return the broth to the heat.
- Cut the remaining carrots and celery into small, rustic chunks and add to the pot.
- Add the orzo pasta.
- Beat two eggs in a bowl until frothy.
- Remove one cup of hot broth from the pot and slowly add to the beaten egg, about a tablespoon at a time, whisking briskly until all the hot broth is combined with the egg. This step tempers the egg and prevents it from scrambling in the soup.
- Slowly add the egg mixture back to the pot and stir quickly.
- Remove cooled chicken from the bone and chop into small pieces. Discard the bones an the skin. Add the chicken to the broth.
- Juice the remaining lemon and make sure there are no seeds. Add the juice to the soup.
- Simmer for 10 minutes on low.
- Finely chop parsley and add to the soup.
- Serve hot with crusty bread for dipping!