Here is my Dad, George Psarias’ recipe for Greek chicken soup that pretty much every Greek child was given the minute they had a sniffle!
Over to Papa G:
Greek chicken soup with lemon and rice (kotosoupa augolemono) is probably the most popular soup in Greece and is a set-piece on the Sunday table in the winter months and the first thing Greek parents will give to their kids at the first sniff of a cold.
This delicious and comforting soup dates back to antiquity and is a favourite for Greek families.
The stock is invariably made from chicken but fish, veal, lamb or a few bones will provide the basis of this nourishing soup.
The eggs give a creamy white texture while the lemon juice adds to the tangy-ness with the rice making it more substantial.
Although rice is the preferred addition, variations on the basic method can be made by substituting the rice with a little flour, orzo (the Greek kritharaki), fine noodles, vermicelli, tapioca or any of the soup pastas.
- 2 organic or free-range fowl (fowl makes a more flavoursome stock) or chicken, together with its giblets left whole.
- 2.5 litres water
- 2 shallot onions, unpeeled
- 2 white onions, unpeeled
- 2 celery sticks with their leaves
- 2 carrots
- 2 leeks
- 6 black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- freshly ground sea salt
- 75 g Greek short-grain rice or risotto rice, rinsed and drained
- 3 medium organic or free-range eggs, separated
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- a small handful of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Put the chicken, breast down in to a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Add the vegetables, bay leaves, peppercorns and a pinch of salt. Cover and bring slowly to the boil. Skim off the scum and froth that will rise as it cooks, until the water appears clear.
Simmer gently for 1- 1 1/4 hours until the chicken is tender and falls off the bone. Lift out the chicken and remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon.
Cut up the chicken into portions and cut up the vegetables. These can be eaten along with the soup or the chicken can be cut into smaller pieces without the bone and skin and served inside the soup for a more substantial meal.
The rest of the chicken may be served into a chicken salad or made into chicken pastries.
Strain the broth, bring it to the boil, add the rice to the broth which should be about 1.5 litres. Measure the stock (it should not exceed 1.5 litres: if it is more, return to the heat and reduce). Cover and cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until the rice is tender (approx 15 minutes).
While the soup is cooking, prepare an egg and lemon sauce. First whisk the egg whites in a mixing bowl until stiff. Add the egg yolks while still whisking, then add the lemon juice very slowly and finally 300 ml of the hot broth a little at a time, whisking all the while.
Pour the sauce into the soup, stirring all the time and return the saucepan to a very low heat on to a bain-marie. Simmer for 1-2 minutes all the time until the soup is hot again and thickens. Do not let it boil otherwise the egg will curdle. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with the parsley and serve at once.
Note: Strictly speaking the soup shout not be re-heated once the egg and lemon sauce has been added but if you have to reheat it, do so over a very low heat, stirring all the time and being careful not the bring tot he boil.