FOOD: Avgolemono – chicken and lemon soup

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A warm bowl of hearty soup is classic comfort food, especially at this time of the year when it’s getting very chilly outside! Plus, it’s the time of year people know as the flu season. Soup can be a reminder of loving care, which can warm the cockles of the heart. This fresh-tasting Greek soup, also known as avgolemono, is a silky-rich, fragrant chicken soup, prepared the traditional way using an egg-lemon mix to essentially thicken it. Chicken soup is one of those universal foods every culture and household has some version of, and this Greek version is a fantastic way to get vitamin C, garlic, protein and carbs into the family to help ward off any illness. Enjoy!

PREP TIME:  5 MINS

COOK TIME:  20 MINS  /  SERVES:  6-7 PEOPLE

INGREDIENTS
8 cups of good-quality chicken stock
3/4 cup uncooked orzo
2 free-range chicken breasts
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
3 free-range eggs
80ml lemon juice
130g bag spinach
Good handful chopped parsley
2 tablespoons finely-chopped dill (optional)

METHOD
1. In a large saucepan, bring the stock to the boil. Add the orzo (or rice or other pasta) and bring back to a simmer, stirring every so often to ensure it doesn’t stick together. About 5 minutes before the pasta’s ready, add the spinach.

2. Slice the chicken crossways into about 1cm pieces. About 5 minutes before the pasta is cooked (orzo usually takes 15-20 minutesto get really soft), add the chicken to the stock.

3. Next, place the eggs into a mixing bowl. Whisk continuously, while pouring in the lemon juice, then add the zest.

4. This is the trickiest part: whisking continuously, SLOWLY pour in a ladleful of hot stock into the egg mix. Repeat with one more.

5. Reduce the soup heat to very low. Then, again while whisking the soup in the pot, slowly pour in the egg mix. This will thicken it slightly and shouldn’t curdle.

6. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat, pour into warmed bowls, and garnish with parsley and dill if using. Serve immediately with some fresh crusty bread.