It’s cold here in Cincinnati today. That great prognosticator, the woolly worm, told us we would have a mild winter, and so far the fuzzy little dude has been spot on. But it’s still the middle of January in Cincinnati and that means I’m cold and I want something warm, hearty and yummy to make me feel toasty from the inside out.
There are lots of great comfort food options for just such an occasion, but today my irresistible hankering on this fine Saturday was for some avgolemono, that classic, quintessentially Greek soup that combines a few readily available ingredients to produce one of the most simple, delicious, pinch-me-to-make-sure-I’m-not-dreaming-‘cause-it’s-that-freakin’-awesome soups you’ll ever enjoy. The prep time is short and so is the ingredient list:
- 1 boneless chicken breast
- 2 qts. chicken stock
- 1 cup long grain white rice
- ¾ cup lemon juice
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp white pepper
- 2 eggs
- Lemon slices for garnish
- Fresh cilantro for garnish
Start by dicing the chicken breast into about ½ inch cubes. In a large pot, bring the chicken stock to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the diced chicken and cook thoroughly, which should only take about 10 minutes. Stir in the rice, lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper. Continue cooking until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes or so.
Next we want to finish the soup by thickening it with the eggs. We’re going to use a tempering technique to get the eggs into the hot soup without turning them into an impromptu omelet. This method will slowly bring up the temperature of the eggs without cooking them too rapidly. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and start gradually whisking in a total of 2 cups of the hot broth, half a cup at a time. Now you can add the egg mixture back into the main pot. Simmer for about 5 minutes to thicken – be careful not to boil – and your soup is now ready to serve with a garnish of sliced lemon and a generous sprinkle of fresh chopped cilantro leaves. This recipe scale will serve 6 people.
But wait, there’s more! As an added bonus, we’ll include this amazing recipe for honeyed flatbread to serve alongside your soup! That’s two recipes for the price of one! And if you call in the next five minutes we’ll double the flatbread recipe, absolutely free! [All you pay is $19.95 shipping and handling.] So have your credit card ready, and call now!
Or just ignore all that and read on for the recipe:
- 1½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2½ tsp. baking powder
- 3/8 tsp. fine sea salt
- 1¼ cup Greek nonfat yogurt (plain)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup honey
Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Gradually stir in the yogurt until fully incorporated, and then do the same with the olive oil, followed by the honey. When everything is mixed, knead the dough by hand for about a minute to be sure all the ingredients are evenly blended, then shape it into a rough ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and set it aside to rest for 45 minutes to an hour.
When the dough is rested, divide it into 6 pieces. Preheat a non-stick skillet over medium flame. Lightly flour your work surface and roll out a piece of dough with a rolling pin until it is evenly thin and about 6” in diameter. You may also need to flour your pin to keep the dough from sticking. Place the rolled dough in the heated skillet to cook, about 2-3 minutes per side. You’ll know when it is ready to flip because the bread will begin to rise gently. You will want to cook each piece until it begins to brown lightly on each side and the dough no longer appears moist. As each piece is cooking, use the time to roll out the next one.
If you make your dough a little before you start working on the soup, you will be find it easy to cook up your flatbread while the rice is simmering in the pot, so both dishes will finish at about the same time and your bread will be warm and tasty alongside that yummy Greek soup.
That’s it – Greek goodies on your table that are quick, simple and stupidly delicious. Munch it down with a big happy grin on your face. It may still be January in Cincinnati, but I’m coping much better now, thanks. Until next time: Eat well, my friends!