Greek Chicken and Lemon Soup recipe
I’ve had my feet up for the last couple of weeks and been spending some time in the Isle of Wight with the boys and oh yes, turning 50. We didn’t have quite the big bash I had in mind, just a discreet piss up for 11 of my family cooked by yours truly, but it was just perfect. And now it’s done, I’m 50 and proud, and from here on in, I will start lying about my age. This time last year, I celebrated my 49th birthday with my feet in the Ionian Sea. With a whiff of reminiscence, this weeks post is this absolutely divine Greek Chicken and Lemon Soup.
I have been wanting to make this soup for years; ever since I saw Rick Stein making it on one of his Greek based shows. I was enticed by the simplicity of the flavours as well as the need to poach a whole chicken, which always makes me feel like the sort of wholemeal mother I wish I was. That said, you don’t have to poach a chicken, you could easily use good quality bought chicken stock, but where’s the therapy in that? The rest is simple, shred the cooked chicken, temper eggs with lemon juice and it’s job done. Hold on, temper eggs you say, what in God’s name is that? Don’t be alarmed, it just means whisking in some hot stock, before you whisk the eggs into the soup. Thank you to Bon Appetit for the inspiration for this beautiful recipe.
It’s been like a furnace over the last week, with soup not exactly being at the forefront of my mind. It’s still not chilly, but this fresh, flavoursome Chicken and Lemon soup can now be enjoyed without wearing just your bra and pants.
Any recipe featuring these wholesome ingredients can only taste wonderful. All simple and when cooked together create the most elegant, flavour filled soup. As I said, if you can’t be arsed or don’t have time, abandon the chicken poaching bit and just buy some lovely chicken stock and add some leftover chicken from a roast.
If you are obsessed with poaching chickens, like me, then make a start by adding your good sized chicken along with the carrot, leek and onion for flavour. There’s no need to peel or finely chop these btw, which also fills me with joy.
Pour on the 3.5 litres of water then pop on the stove and bring up to the boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer, put a lid on and cook for an hour.
When the hour’s up, remove the chicken from the stock, discard the vegetables *apart from the carrot which I love eating, Nigella calls it a cooks perk*. Leave the chicken to cool.
While the chicken cools, keep the stock simmering, lid off, for around another hour, or until you are left with around 2 litres of flavourful broth. Season with salt, to taste.
Once the chicken has cooled, remove the skin and bones from the chicken and shred the leg and thigh meat for the soup. Keep the breast meat and use for another dish, such as my summer cobb salad.
In a small bowl whisk together the two eggs and the lemon juice until they’re frothy and smooth. Now, decant 250ml of your chicken broth, and starting with a couple of teaspoons, carefully whisk into the egg and lemon mix. Pour the rest of the stock in, whisking all the time, and that’s your eggs tempered, no real drama.
Pop this to one side for the mo while you add your rice to the hot stock, stir, and let cook for 5 minutes before you then add the cooked chicken.
Once the chicken’s in cook for another 5 minutes. Now it’s time to whisk in your tempered egg and lemon mix. This was hard to photography and do at the same time, but start with a tiny drizzle, whisking as you go, then carry on pouring in a steady stream, whilst whisking, until you have a thickened, creamy looking soup.
Cook this fresh, luxurious soup for another 5 minutes, check for seasoning issues, then leave to sit for 10 unbearably long minutes, before serving with a good drizzle of olive oil and plenty of black pepper.
I bloody love this soup. It’s elegant, so full of flavour and if you imagine you’re eating it a Greek taverna, quite a bit cheaper *and less effort* than a two week holiday with your family.
Greek Chicken and Lemon Soup recipe
Serves a generous 4 to 6
You will just need pots and pans for this lovely recipe
1 good sized chicken
1 large carrot
1 small onion, halved
6 tablespoons lemon juice
150g rice, I used basmati
Freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil to serve
Take a really big pan and add the chicken, carrot, leeks and onion. Pour on 3.5 litres of water. Bring up to the boil, turn down the heat and cook the chicken for an hour. Turn off the heat and carefully remove the chicken and the vegetables from the broth. Discard the vegetables and leave the chicken to cool. Once cool enough to handle, remove all the meat from the bones, keeping the chicken breasts for another day but using the meat from the legs and thighs for this soup. Discard the skin *the dog had mine*. Shred the leg and thigh meat. Alternatively, you could use a good shop bought chicken stock and some leftover cooked chicken from a roast.
Simmer the remaining chicken stock for about an hour, or until it’s reduced to just under 2 litres. Season with salt, to taste.
In a small bowl whisk the eggs with the lemon juice until foamy and smooth. Decant 250ml of the hot chicken stock from the pan, then starting with a couple of teaspoons, whisk slowly into the lemon and egg. This will temper the eggs and stop them from curdling when you add to the soup.
Once the stock has reduced, tip in the rice, stir well so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the shredded chicken then cook for another 5 minutes or until the rice is cooked through.
Whisking the soup, add a couple of teaspoons of the lemon/egg mixture to start, then slowly pour the rest in whisking all the time. The soup will thicken and look luxurious. Cook for a further 5 minutes then turn off the heat and leave to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Serve in large, elegant bowlfuls, drizzled with good olive oil and some freshly ground black pepper.
Any leftovers will keep for a couple of days in the fridge.
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