For someone who loves all things Greek (especially the food) and craves anything with lemon flavor (probably 90% of feast of green recipes contain lemon), I can’t believe how late I was to discover Avgolemono. This is a rich and creamy soup, thickened with tempered egg yolks, flavored with lemon, and traditionally made with chicken and rice or orzo. I had my first taste at a Greek restaurant a few days before Christmas, and spent the rest of my vacation longing to make it at home and share it with all of you!
With New Year’s resolutions upon us, I wanted the soup to be paleo/whole 30 friendly, so I substituted potatoes for the grains. (Though, you could easily use either rice or orzo instead, following the same directions below.) My other major alteration was to use about three times the lemon juice that other recipes called for and add lemon zest as well. (Again, I love lemon.) I’d recommend starting with about 1/2 cup of lemon juice, and if you’re like me and want more flavor, add another 1/4 cup lemon juice after the eggs have been tempered and added to the broth.
I used bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs because I find these produce a more flavorful and tender finished product, but chicken breasts would work perfectly well, or you can omit the chicken altogether, use a vegetable broth, and have a vegetarian soup. If you would rather not cook the chicken yourself, pick up a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store and use that instead.
This is the perfect comforting but healthy January meal. I hope you enjoy!
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (or 2-3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken – see note above)
- freshly ground pepper
- avocado oil or ghee
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 cups chicken broth (this is my favorite brand for cooking)
- 2 russet potatoes, scrubbed and diced
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (see note above)
- zest from one lemon
- fresh lemon slices, oregano leaves, olive oil, and parsley for serving
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Pat dry the chicken thighs, and season liberally with salt, pepper, and avocado oil, Place skin side down on the parchment paper and roast for 10 minutes. Flip the chicken, so the skin side is now up, and roast for another 20 minutes. When done, a thermometer should read at least 165 degrees in the meaty interior of the thigh. When cool enough to handle, discard the bones and skin, and shred the chicken into small pieces using 2 forks or your hands. Set aside.
In a large pot or dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon avocado oil over medium-low heat. Add the minced garlic, and saute until cooked through (2-3 minutes). Pour the chicken broth into the pot, add 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, raise the heat, and bring to a rolling boil. Add the diced potatoes and cook until al dente – about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low.
Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, yolks, and lemon juice until combined and frothy. Temper the eggs by slowly pouring about 2 cups of the hot soup broth into the egg mixture, while whisking constantly. Then pour the egg/broth mixture back into the soup, while stirring. Add the lemon zest and shredded chicken. Continue to cook the soup over low heat, while stirring frequently for another 5 minutes, until it has thickened slightly. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper as desired.
Serve with lemon wedges, freshly ground pepper, a drizzle of olive oil, and fresh herbs.
*The soup will save refrigerated for a few days, but to reheat, DO NOT bring to a boil, or the eggs will scramble.