Chicken Soup

Chicken soup, a favourite family recipe, is simply the ultimate Greek comfort food.


Preparation & Cooking time: 110'

Serves: 4

This chicken soup is a staple in all Athenian households, not just as a remedy for all manner of ailments but also a simple dish to warm and fill the belly on a cold winter night, whether eaten at home or purchased at one of the capital’s many affordable eateries catering to bachelors or elderly residents. The chicken is boiled whole and you can use as much of the meat as you want in the soup. Part of the meat is often saved to be used in other dishes.

INGREDIENTS 

For the chicken soup:

  • 1 medium-sized chicken about 2 kilograms in weight, cut into 6 pieces and skinned
  • 100 gr long-grain rice
  • 4 medium-sized onions, peeled and whole
  • 4 carrots, peeled and whole
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch parsley stalks
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped, or 1 tsp dried
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt, freshly-ground pepper

For the egg-lemon sauce:

  • 2 eggs, preferably organic, separated
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice

INSTRUCTIONS

Rinse the chicken thoroughly in cold water before placing in a large saucepan over high heat with 3.5 liters of water and bringing to the boil. Use a slotted spoon to remove the scum that forms on the water’s surface for about the first 10 minutes of boiling. When the scum stops forming, add the carrots, parsley stalks, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Lower the heat to medium, cover the pot and boil for about 1 hour. Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken and other solids to a platter. Keep simmering the broth. Discard the onions as they’ve gone too soft to use. The carrots can be saved for a different use or diced and dressed with a dash of olive oil and some oregano so they can be served with the soup. Debone the chicken and add the bones to the stock, boiling it for an additional 10 minutes so it becomes richer. In the meantime, cut the chicken you want to use in your soup into 2 cm cubes and place the rest aside to refrigerate.
Strain the broth into a separate bowl to remove all solids and return to the saucepan. Bring back to the boil and add the rice, cooking until it’s done. Add the chicken, give it a stir and then remove from the heat to cool while preparing the egg-lemon mixture.

Egg-lemon mix: In a bowl, whisk the egg whites into a light meringue and then slowly add the beaten egg yolks and the lemon juice. Once the broth has cooled down, slowly add 2 ladlefuls to the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Once the egg mixture is warm to the touch, carefully pour into the saucepan, shaking the pot continuously so the liquids blend well. Add the chopped carrots and some freshly-ground black pepper when serving.


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