Actually, let’s be specific. When life gives you a bag of organic lemons for $4, you make avgolemono.
True story. It was my typical Saturday morning. I was perusing the warehouse of UNFI with my dad and it is very rarely that I buy fresh produce there. They have a section for organic vegetables, fruits, nuts, and so on but they never really are a great deal. And you know me, I’m all for the bargain. This time, however, I was delighted to see a full bag of organic lemons for around $4. It was a no-brainer to me.
After getting tired of lemon water and Najib’s special, I was thinking of alternative ways to use up my lemons. They weren’t looking too great anymore so I was looking to use them all up in one sitting. I remember back in the day when my sister was dating this Greek guy, Elias, she would go over and his mom would make all these delicious Greek dishes. She’d bring home spanakopita, moussaka, and all the favourites occasionally. She made this Greek lemon soup and all I could remember was that it was very lemony, featured orzo, and and chicken in it. I quickly Googled it and the result that popped up was “avgolemono”.
Avgolemono is a traditional Greek soup that is comprised of orzo and variable mix-ins. After additional research, I realized my sister has been making this all wrong (unless the version she made was from a different part of Greece…?) and totally forgot the egg whites which adds a nice creamy texture to it as well as airiness and volume. It is totally vital.
For my version, I decided to keep this vegetarian. Again, I hardly ever have meat in my house anymore so that was a no-go. Plus, I didn’t want to prep so much stuff since this was just going to be a quick weeknight meal. While the you bring the stock to a boil, you can multitask and whisk the egg whites until medium peaks form. It’s a relatively quick meal and is so very comforting. It was the perfect soup that I just may add into my monthly rotation (yeah, I cook a lot).
Give it a try. If you’re a lover of lemons or just looking for a way to use up those lemons, try avgolemono. You won’t be disappointed!
Avgolemono (adapted from Serious Eats)
What you’ll need:
– 1 tsp ghee or vegetable oil
– 1 small onion, diced
– 1 cup orzo
– 8 cups homemade stock
– 4 eggs, room temperature, separated
– 5 small lemons, juiced
– Salt and pepper, to taste
What you’ll need to do:
1. In a medium-sized pot, melt the ghee or vegetable oil over medium-high heat and add the orzo. Toast the orzo lightly for about 1 minute and make sure it is fully coated. Add the stock and bring to a boil.
2. Meanwhile, whisk your egg whites (I used my stand mixer) until medium peaks form. Slowly dribble in the lemon juice and egg yolks until it is all incorporated. Set aside.
3. When the orzo is half-cooked, ladle 2 cups of the hot stock and dribble it slowly into the egg mixture, trying your best to not let the hot liquid cook the eggs.
4. Once it is all mixed, slowly pour the egg/stock mixture back into the soup with the orzo. Turn off the heat and whisk together. Let the soup sit until the orzo is fully cooked. Makes 4 servings.