Why It Works
- Adding some of the lemon separately gives you more control over exactly how the recipe turns out, according to your own tastes.
- Tempering the hot broth into the eggs before adding the eggs back to the broth ensures they won't scramble.
- Slowly poaching the chicken breast at low heat delivers more tender, juicier meat.
Avgolemono ("egg-lemon") is a Greek mixture of eggs and lemon, used to thicken soups and sauces while adding a punch of bright citrus flavor. In the United States, the word is practically synonymous with this tangy and creamy chicken soup in which the avgolemono is used. This recipe is easy as can be—the biggest change we made is adding some of the lemon juice separately, to give you more control over your final flavor and texture.
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound/450g)
- 2 quarts homemade chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- 1/2 cup rice or orzo (about 3 1/2 ounces/100g)
- 5 large eggs
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup (60 to 120ml) fresh lemon juice
- Kosher salt
- Minced dill, for garnish
In a 3-quart saucepan, combine chicken breast halves with chicken stock. Heat gently, using an instant-read thermometer to keep the temperature of the stock around 150°F (65°C). Cook until the chicken breast reaches an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C), about 1 hour, then remove from stock.
When chicken is cool enough to handle, dice or shred the meat and set aside.
Add rice or orzo to stock and cook until just tender, about 20 minutes for rice and 13 minutes for orzo. Lower heat to a bare simmer.
Meanwhile, in a heatproof bowl, combine eggs with 1/4 cup (60ml) lemon juice and beat until lightly foamy.
While whisking constantly, ladle in about 1/2 cup of the hot chicken broth into the eggs (it's okay if some rice or orzo comes along for the ride). Ladle in a three or four more 1/2-cup additions of the hot chicken broth while whisking, then whisk the egg-broth mixture back into the broth in the saucepan. Season with salt.
Cook the chicken soup over low heat, whisking and scraping the sides constantly, until thickened by the eggs. Taste soup, then, if desired, whisk in remaining lemon juice until your desired level of lemon flavor is reached. Season with salt again, if needed.
Add chicken meat, then ladle into bowls. Garnish with dill and serve.
3-Quart saucepan, instant-read thermometer
If you want, you can use 2 quarts of a basic chicken soup with the meat already in it, but without the finishing aromatics like carrot and celery. Simply thicken as described in the recipe with eggs, then flavor with lemon and finish with dill.