Wife-made's Greek Chicken Soup

Greek Chicken Soup | My family recipe

It’s been raining here for about two weeks.  It’s been cold and dreary and wet, and very much ‘stay inside and watch movies and read books and eat comfort food’ weather, even though we’ve all had to keep on keeping on with the regular school life schedule.  But it’s made me want to eat Greek Chicken Soup because it’s warm and delicious and so easy to make {which, let’s be honest, is pretty high on my list these days}.

Do you know the thing about traditional Greek food?

It’s deceivingly simple.  You won’t need ten different spices to cook good Greek food.  You might need two. Or maybe three, at the most.  {Here’s proof!}  It’s uncomplicated food that, despite it’s minimalism, holds a thoroughly satisfying flavour palette.  Such it is with Greek Chicken Soup.

Wife-made's Greek Chicken Soup

If you asked a Greek {I am one, remember!} why their simple approach to food tasted so good they’d probably say something like, ‘It’s Greek.  Of course it tastes good!’, as if that was enough of an explanation.  Or, they’d look at you, clicking their tongue, and pitying you for not being Greek.

Wife-made's Greek Chicken Soup
Wife-made's Greek Chicken Soup

In my opinion, the Greeks understand food {or understood, since these recipes are thousands of years old!}.  Their recipes, as you’ll see in this Greek Chicken Soup recipe, hold a simple sophistication, or put simply, they just know what flavours belong together, and nothing more needs to be said.  

In this case, they knew that chicken would be perfectly complemented by the tart lemon {a commonly used partnership in many a kitchen today!}.  Don’t ask me how they knew nutmeg was the spice to add, but they were right.  The smell of it as I grate it onto the chicken makes my mouth water!  But it’s the avgolemono {egg and lemon} that’s the hero here.  It adds a creaminess to the dish to create a comforting and filling meal that pleases both the tongue and the tummy.

Wife-made's Greek Chicken Soup

Not feeling well?  Put down the Windex and slurp up a bowl of this delicious Greek Chicken Soup! 

Greek Chicken Soup recipe

Basic recipe ingredients

  • 1.5kg whole uncooked chicken
  • 1L chicken stock
  • 1 cup rice
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • extra lemon juice, for serving

Method

Sprinkle chicken generously with nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Place chicken in a large saucepan, add the chicken stock and top up with just enough water to cover.  Boil for 1 hour.

Remove the chicken, allowing the juices to drain into the saucepan.  Set to one side.  Add the rice and cook until tender.  Approximately ten minutes.  Remove the broth from the heat.

In a medium-sized bowl beat the eggs and the lemon juice until light and frothy.  Using a jug or a soup ladle, {very slowly} pour the hot broth in a thin stream into the egg mixture, mixing with a whisk continuously.  It is VERY IMPORTANT that you add the hot broth VERY SLOWLY and mix CONTINUOUSLY, or you will end up with bits of unappealing stringy egg through the soup, instead of the delicious, creamy consistency of avgolemono.  Repeat until you have several cups worth of avgolemono in the bowl and then slowly add the avgolemono in the bowl into the saucepan of soup, once again mixing continuously.

Optional ingredients

  • 1 or 2 carrots diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 sticks of celery or half a fennel bulb, diced
  • 1 bay leaf

Since having kids, I like to add veges to as many dishes as possible.  For this recipe I will gently fry off the above ingredients in a couple tablespoons of oil in the saucepan as the step before those listed in the method above.  Simply add the chicken stock, chicken and water to the saucepan afterwards and continue on with the instructions above. 

To finish

Growing up, my Mum would place the chicken in a baking dish and brown it under the grill.  We would then break off bits of chicken to add to our individual bowls according to our hunger.  Another option is to remove and discard the skin and tear up the chicken meat, returning it to the soup.

Serve immediately, with the extra lemon juice on the table to be added according to individual taste {I like mine lemony!} and a loaf of crusty bread, to be broken off and dipped into the soup.

Sidenote

I thought I’d link to one of the cookbooks my mother used to use at different times – The Food of Greece.  Although she was taught to cook a lot of Greek dishes by my father’s mother, my Yia-Yia, she also used a couple of cookbooks.  This was one of her {and now my} favourites.  It is quite hard to come by, and as a result pricey, but worth it if you are looking for a good traditional Greek cook book.  

The Food of Greece - Vilma Liacouras Chantiles

2 Comments

  1. It looks absolutely delicious and honestly, there aren’t many things that are quite as comforting, as chicken soup.
    This recipe is very similar to a Portuguese chicken soup recipe that I make, though we add fresh mint into the soup too. Thanks for sharing 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *