Soups are a really versatile food. Take a protein, add a veggie, add a liquid, and there you have it: soup.
Beef stew is a great way to turn a cheap cut of beef into a very satisfying meal. Chicken soup can turn one chicken into a balanced dinner for four, and warm you to your bones on a cold winter’s day. A good seafood chowder is like a vacation to the shore, but without the traffic and sunburns.
All of these soups, while they are great food, are complex.
Avgolemono, a Greek soup, is a perfect light lunch or appetizer. This version uses four ingredients and can be made in under half an hour, including cleanup (if you use pasta- rice takes longer).
Avgolemono should be smooth, silky, with bold flavours and no distractions. You’ll taste the chicken, the egg, the lemon, and the pasta- there is nothing else to draw attention from the simple elegance of the soup.
- 4 cups of chicken broth
- 1/4 cup small pasta such as orzo or pastina- or substitute rice
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 3 eggs
- Heat the broth to boiling.
- Add the pasta (or rice) and cook until al dente- the pasta package will tell you how long to cook it.
- While the pasta is boiling, beat together the eggs and lemon juice, and set aside in a bowl of at least one quart.
- When the pasta is cooked to al dente, turn the heat down to simmer and scoop out half a cup of hot broth. Add the broth gradually to the egg mixture, whisking the whole time. This is called tempering the eggs.
- Keep adding broth to the egg mixture until more than half the broth has been added, then whisk the tempered egg mixture back into the pan with the rest of the broth.
- Heat until thickened, usually not more than two minutes.
Serves two as a light lunch or four as an appetizer.