Avgolemono in Greek means egg and lemon, ingredients which are the heart of this dish
ingredients for 4 servings (cost about 2 € pp)
- 1,8 litres homemade chicken stock
- 200g carnaroli rice
- 2 carrots
- 1 celery stick
- fresh fennel or dill
- juice and zest of 2 lemons
- 4 large organic eggs
- coarse black pepper
This soup is more Greek than Zorba, himself !!!!!!! The homonymous sauce too.
A well made avgolemono is a Godly soup. I am sure that when Zeus, Venus, Neptune and company felt cold, they ate a hearty avgolemono soup.
There are two ways to prepare it. The superior “home edition” and the “restaurant edition”.
At the home edition everything is made about half an hour before eating time. The rice is cooked in the whole quantity of stock and later is bound with the egg-lemon mixture. On the other hand, at the restaurant edition we cook the rice in half the amount of the stock (0,9 litre) for 3 minutes less than al dente, we cool it immediately in ice bath (keeping the stock were it has been cooked), we strain and we keep it in the fridge till the time of the order. We finish the dish, reheating the rice using both the remaining 0,9 litre of stock, that we did not use from the beginning, as well as the stock in which the rice was initially cooked. We do this in order to obtain even more creaminess from the rice starches. We add the rest of the ingredients, as we ‘ll see later.
One very important point. Rice must NOT be melted. YES, we want an extra creaminess but NO, we don´t want a melted grain and a single texture soup. Traditional cooks tend to melt the rice grains, following completely outdated models, which also create flat dishes with thick and not fine textures.
What about the rice variety? In Greece they use an awful variety, the “glacé”. You are very lucky you cannot find it!!!! This rice is disgusting, it creates a hospital-like texture we want to avoid. Find a good carnaroli, or a good vialone nano and your soup will be perfect. Attractive and modern, as it has to be.
So, first of all we have to prepare the carrots and the celery, cleaning, peeling, cutting in small pieces and boiling them in salted water till tender, but not mushy. We set aside.
We bring to boil the stock, we lightly salt it, we add the rice, we lower the temperature and let it simmer. Meanwhile, we prepare the avgolemono, by beating the eggs with the lemon juice.
THE CRUCIAL POINT. When the rice is ready, we remove the pot from heat. We wait for 1-2 minutes for the temperature to fall and we start:
a) adding VERY SLOWLY stock from the pot to the egg-lemon mixture and at the same time
b) stirring CONTINUOUSLY the egg mixture with a whisk
We NEVER do the opposite. If we make the fatal mistake to add the egg-lemon mixture to the hot stock, the egg proteins will coagulate and the soup will have a cheap tavern or a military camp look.
We continue adding SLOWLY ladles of stock in the egg-lemon mixture and stirring with the whisk.
When the mixture becomes hot, we start transferring it, SLOWLY, in the pot, which I repeat must be off the heat. We start stirring the mixture in the pot. We add the carrots, the celery and the lemon zest, we check the salt and we let the soup “rest” for a couple of minutes .
We serve decorating with fennel or dill and black pepper.