Avgolemono (Mediterranean Lemon and Egg Soup)

We’re deep into January out in Oregon and it seems like almost everybody we know has been sick. Mr. Tummyrumblr and I have been doing our best to stay on ahead of the funk by eating lots of super-nourishing foods, but these last few days we’ve had a couple of scritchy throat scares. It doesn’t help that the valley weather has taken a turn for the wetter, which likely signals the beginning of “true” winter in Portland – a.k.a. two week stretches of low-hanging, light blocking clouds without a single sun break. So long, vitamin D!

Today’s recipe is my riff on Avgolemono soup, a Mediterranean broth-based soup with eggs and lemon whisked in at the end of cooking to thicken. I used my simplest chicken bone broth as the base (recipe follows), and spiced the soup with cinnamon and ginger for extra anti-inflammatory power. I then added rice and spinach along with the lemon and eggs, making this a well-rounded and filling winter meal.


*makes 4 servings*

8 C. chicken broth (recipe follows)
1 cinnamon stick
1″ piece of ginger, sliced into 4 or 5 coins
3/4 C. basmati rice
2 T. butter or olive oil
1 bunch spinach, washed (or two bunches, if you’re so inclined)
4 eggs
1/2 C. fresh squeezed lemon juice, from about 2 lemons
S & P


Place the broth along with the cinnamon stick and ginger into a soup pot, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 30 minutes to infuse the broth the flavors of cinnamon and ginger.

Add the rice and butter or oil to the pot and continue to simmer until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes.

When the rice is soft, add the spinach and allow it to wilt. In the meantime, gently whisk the eggs and lemon juice together with a in a medium bowl. While whisking, slowly pour in one cup of the broth from the soup to temper the eggs. Then add the egg/lemon/broth mixture back to the pot, stir thoroughly, and remove from the heat.

Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper (it will need quite a bit of salt if using my unsalted broth recipe), divide between bowls and serve immediately.

Basic Chicken Broth:
*yields about 14 cups of broth*

I try my darndest to make a big batch of broth every few weeks, and since committing to eating a more traditional diet, broth making has become a beloved habit. When you have broth on hand, it’s so simple to use it as a base for a quick, nourishing meal. I start my broths in the evening after dinner and allow them to cook all night at a bare simmer. Once you get the hang of it, there’s really very little work involved. I also love eating warm broth as a snack – it’s so satisfying! I cannot believe I’ve been missing out on it for so many years.

2 ½ # chicken backs
cold water to cover
16 C. cold water
1 onion, skin on, quartered
1 large carrot, large dice
2 stalks celery, large dice
5 cloves garlic, skin on, smashed
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Place the chicken backs into a large stockpot and add cold water just to cover them. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove the chicken backs from the pot with tongs and place in a colander. Rinse them of any scum, and rinse the stockpot out thoroughly as well.

Next, return the chicken backs to the clean pot along with all of the the vegetables and the vinegar and cover with 16 cups of cold water. Once again, bring the covered pot to a boil and then reduce to a bare simmer (if it simmers to high it will create too much steam and you will lose a of of your broth). Allow the broth to simmer overnight or for 12 hours to draw as much of the gelatin, minerals, and amino acids from the bones as possible.

When the broth is done, stir it thoroughly with a wooden spoon, pressing on the bones and vegetables (a metal potato masher works well, too). Pour the broth through a fine mesh colander and into another large pot or bowl, again pressing on the solids to extract all of the liquid.

Divide the broth between 4 quart jars, leaving plenty of room at the top. Allow the broth to cool fully in the fridge before covering and storing. Use the broth within 7-10 days or freeze for later use.

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