Greek Lemon Soup – Avgolemono

Eggs do not only have many health benefits, but also many uses. Yesterday, I shared a recipe for herbed baked eggs, an example of how eggs can be a main dish. But eggs have many other uses as well. Today, as part of Works for Me Wednesday, I wanted to share how to make a Greek Lemon Soup, which eggs play a vital role in. This soup is so easy to make. You just have to learn how to temper eggs and you are set!

We are all probably familiar with Chinese Egg drop soup, a delicious, salty and light soup found at every Chinese restaurant. But that is hardly the only soup where eggs play an important part.The Greeks also have an amazing soup using eggs.

I had to play around a lot with the following recipe. I was copying a soup I had at a fancy little restaurant that holds a special place in my heart. Joel and I ate there after he had proposed to me. So, this restaurant holds a lot of memories of special times and delicious food! It was there I had my first taste of Greek Lemon Soup. It was so good; I knew I had to learn how to make it. It was rich and light, tart and slightly salty all at the same time. The eggs in it gave a super smooth, velvety texture. It also had the unusual ingredient of tapioca in it, which gave a wonderful texture to this smooth soup. I knew I had to have that in my soup as well. But feel free to leave it out, if you don’t have any on hand. It will still be good.

While many recipes are very hardy, this soup was lighter, and perfect for a first course. It took a little practice to figure out how to make it not be super thick. Some recipes had me beat the egg whites separately, which I didn’t like at all. It made the soup fluffy! Others only had egg yolks which makes a very rich soup, but is a little more spendy. Finally, I branched out and combined what I learned from all the recipes I tried and came up with this recipe. I really like how it turned out. Of course, if you want to serve it more as a main dish, you can easily beef it up by adding in up to a cup and a half of cooked brown rice.

This is definitely lemony, by the way. I LOVE IT. But some may not like lemon quite as strong as I do. Start with 1/4 cup and add to taste. A good Greek Lemon Soup should have a good balance of tartness from the lemon, saltiness from the broth, and richness from the eggs. I haven’t tried it yet, but you can also serve this soup cold, on a hot day. I plan on doing that when the weather warms up a bit. Do note that this will continue to thicken as it sits.

This soup is not very expensive to make, is very simple (you don’t even had to chop up any vegetables!!!), and looks so fancy and special! This is yet another example of a simple dish, that because of how great it tastes, seems like you spent a lot more time in the kitchen than you did. It won’t take long at all to make. The only part that is a little tricky is tempering the eggs. Whatever you do, don’t let the eggs curdle. I have had that happen and we have happily still eaten in, but the texture is completely different.

Greek Lemon Soup-Avgolemono

8 cups of chicken broth (do use homemade if at all possible)
3 tablespoons of quick cooking tapioca
1/3 cup of leftover cooked brown rice
1/4 to 1/2 cup of lemon juice (about three lemons for 1/2 cup)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
a few tablespoons finely minced parsley

Let the tapioca sit in the broth in a big pot for about ten minutes. Bring to a boil, stirring every once in a while. Turn down the heat and simmer until the tapioca is soft and translucent (about ten minutes). Add the brown rice, and salt to taste at this point. Combine the lemon juice, the eggs, and the parsley together, in a medium bowl. Take out a cup of the chicken broth, and while briskly beating the egg/lemon mixture, slowly pour the broth in. Continue to whisk for a minute or two. This is tempering your eggs. Sometimes, just to be safe, I add in another cup of broth, as well.

You can now slowly add this mixture into your broth on the stove, whisking this as well. Now, watching carefully, gently heat this mixture up, but not letting it boil. If you let it boil, the eggs will curdle, so just get it nice and hot, and take off of the heat. If you see the eggs starting to curdle, if you immediately take it off the heat and whisk like crazy you have a chance of reversing it.

And it’s done! If you let it sit around for a while, the tapioca will continue to let it thicken. Your soup should be rich, smooth, tart, velvety, soup. Enjoy!

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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  1. bloodanna says

    This sounds really good, I really love lemon things, The only problem is that I’m a vegetarian. Is there any way to make this with something non-animal replacing the chicken broth and still have it turn out as well and delicious?

  2. Kimi Harris says

    You could make your own vegetable broth, or you could use Rapunzel’s vegan bouillon. It’s the only bouillon I have found that I would actually consider using (and it’s delicious as well!).

    It’s made with sea salt, organic vegetables and herbs and non hydrogenated organic palm oil. I would probably use half the amount called for, especially for this soup, so that it would be a little lighter. 🙂 They have a few different flavors as well.

  3. Theresa says

    I am assigned a first course for an upcoming Gourmet dinner. This recipe looks like just the ticket however, I am wondering if I could possibly make it a day ahead of time?

  4. Delores Carter says

    Kimi, this soup looks great and I would like to try to make it. But I cannot eat tapioca. what would you substitute?

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