On Picky Eating

The truth is, I started eating Avgolemono soup by default.

When I was growing up, my family often went to a local Greek restaurant that made an amazing Manhattan clam chowder. In fact, it still does.

But, I was an even pickier eater than I am now. Horrifying, I know. And, so, I would spend the entire meal picking around the clams. (This seems incredibly ironic now, I’m sure.)

It drove my father crazy. And, it drove me crazy to listen to him get frustrated about it. The obvious solution was either to start eating the clams (not likely at the time) or to forgo soup entirely.

But, even then, I was a creature of habits, taking comfort in the consistent. My meals at this place were always a combination of soup, salad and extra crispy fries. I was unwilling to give up one of the main components. So, Avgolemono it was.

I was originally put off by the soup because, well, the name was hard for me to pronounce. There was also the issue of its creaminess—dairy was another no for my ten-year-old palate. As it turns out, the texture comes from the addition of eggs, slowly folded in to give the soup, giving it body with out the added unctuousness of the dairy. It manages to be both filling and light, bolstered by a bright kick of lemon. You can double the amount of shredded chicken to make it a substantial meal on its own should you be so inclined.

That said, I still prefer mine with a Greek salad on the side (hold the feta) and extra crispy fries. Old habits and all that.

Avgolemono Soup

8 cups chicken broth
1 cup white rice (Jasmine or Basmati)
4 eggs, separated
3/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup shredded chicken
salt and pepper, to taste

Add salt and rice to the chicken broth. Boil and then bring down to a simmer, heating the rice for 20 minutes, until it is fully cooked. Strain out the rice and set aside. (You can also heat the rice seperately in water).

Reduce heat on the broth, allowing it to continue to simmer.

In a bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are stiff. Fold in the egg yolks, combining well. Slowly add the lemon juice, beating continuously. Slowly steam in 2 cups of the warm chicken stock, beating throughout. If you stop mixing while pouring in the stock, you risk curdling the soup.

Once the 2 cups of stock are well combined with the eggs, slowly pour the egg/broth mixture into the remaining chicken stock and stir over medium heat, until well combined. Add in the rice and shredded chicken. Heat, but do not boil the soup prior to serving.

Serves 8 as a appetizer, 4 as a main course


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