Avgolemono, meaning egg (avgo) and lemon (lemono), is a Greek chicken soup that’s creamy without the use of dairy. Eggs and rice thicken it and give a silky texture that is to die for on a cold winter day. Actually, it reminds me a lot of the Vietnamese rice porridge I grew up eating, except the tartness of avgolemono might make you pucker. That leads to my next point: Traditional recipes for avgolemono call for copious amounts of lemon juice. I’ve cut down the amount of citrus in my recipe, but if you’re looking for more excitement in your life, add as much lemon as your tastebuds desire.
The fun part about this recipe is that you’ll learn how to temper, which essentially means bringing two different liquids to a similar temperature in order to incorporate them in the end. Dumping cold-whisked eggs into a simmering pot of soup won’t give you avgolemono—instead, you’ll get something closer to egg-drop soup. By bringing the egg up to temperature slowly, you maintain a smooth texture.
- 1.5 lbs. pheasant legs and thighs
- 4 qts. water
- 1 large onion, peeled and halved
- 1 head garlic, top cut off
- 2 ribs celery, halved
- 2 carrots, split lengthwise and halved
- 1 carrot, diced
- 2 bay leaves
- ⅔ cup long-grain white rice
- 2-3 tbsp. lemon juice
- 3 eggs
- Freshly cracked pepper
- Extra olive oil for drizzling
- 1-2 cups chicken or light game stock
Also works with
- In a medium stock pot, combine pheasant, water, onion, garlic, carrots, and celery. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for 1 ½ hours or until pheasant legs and thighs are tender. Skim off any foam.
- Drain stock and discard solids, reserving the pheasant. Once cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones and set aside. Return stock to the pot with bay leaves, diced carrot, and long-grain white rice. Cook for 30 minutes or until rice expands and becomes tender.
- In a medium mixing bowl, vigorously whisk three eggs until they're slightly foamy and the whites are completely incorporated. To temper the egg mixture, take a ladle of hot soup and slowly incorporate it into the egg in a small stream while whisking constantly. Do not add hot soup too quickly to the egg or it will scramble. Continue to do this until the egg bowl feels hot. When it does, it's then safe to pour the egg and soup mixture into the pot with the rest of the soup.
- Add as much shredded pheasant as you like back to the pot, as well as lemon juice to taste. Season with salt and pepper and discard the bay leaf. The soup will thicken, so keep extra stock on hand to thin it out if needed. Serve hot with a drizzle of olive oil on top.