Thursday, January 30, 2014

Greek Inspiration

Hello all! I know it's been a while since I've posted, but a lot has happened. I've had some major changes: Justin and I have broken up. We are no longer a couple after over seven years. While it feels weird not to be together with someone, I know it will feel more normal with time. I've also moved back home to sort out my situation and get back to my usual self. Anyways, enough of the depressing stuff and onto the good...

A week or two ago I was talking with a friend's dad about making homemade chicken soup. He asked me if I'd ever had lemon chicken soup. I told him I'd put some lemon in my soup before, to which he stopped me and said that it wasn't the same. He proceeded to say that the soup had a squeeze of lemon and raw eggs added at the end. I immediately though of something similar to egg drop soup, but was corrected and told that the eggs were tempered and added to the soup for a creamy texture and not laced through like ribbons (if that makes any sense). 

During the following week, I kept thinking that I wanted to come up with some sort of recipe for the blog and kept coming back to how great it would be to make this chicken soup. I did my usual scouring of the interwebs to find the best recipes for Avgolemono (Greek lemon chicken) Soup and finally came up with the basis for my own version:

Paleo Avgolemono Soup

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 cup chicken broth + 9-10 cups homemade broth (see below)
  • 2 large onions, 1 cut in half and the other chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, 4 smashed and 4 minced
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4-5 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce (I use Red Boat)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • oregano
  • ground cinnamon
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • paprika
  • 1/2 cauliflower, "riced"
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 5 lemons
  • salt
  • pepper
  • lard
  • Roast the chicken:
    • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
    • Melt a little lard and rub it all over the chicken.
    • Season the inside and outside liberally with a mixture of salt, pepper, onion/garlic powders, oregano, paprika, and cinnamon (use amounts that suit your tastes). 
    • Cut one of the lemons into quarters. Spritz a little on the outside of the chicken and then stick all the the quarters inside. 
    • Put the chicken in a roasting pan and pour in 1 cup of broth (I find this helps to keep the chicken moist during the cooking process). Place the pan in the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes.
    • Turn down the heat to 350 degrees and continue to roast for 20 minutes per pound. I had a 4.4 lb chicken, which took 1 1/2 hours at the lower temp.
    • Remove the chicken from the over, cover loosely with foil, and let it rest for at least 10 minutes.
    • At this point you can carve the chicken, shred up all the meat, put it into a container and set it aside. SAVE THE BONES!!!
  • Make the broth:
    • Take the saved bones from the roasted chicken and throw them into a slow cooker. Add the chicken feet, halved onion (skin on), 4 smashed cloves garlic, apple cider vinegar, fish sauce, bay leaves, a tbsp oregano, peppercorns, a little bit of salt, and the cinnamon stick. Set the temp to low and let cook for 24 hours. (Yes, 24...)
    • Strain the broth, discard the remnants/bones, and set aside.
  • Make the soup:
    • Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add a tbsp or so of lard.
    • Throw in the chopped onion, carrots and celery. Saute for a few minutes, until they start to soften. Add the minced garlic and saute for another minute.
    • Pour in 9-10 cups of broth and bring to a boil. Add in 1-1 1/2 tbsp oregano, salt/pepper, the riced cauliflower, and about half of the shredded chicken (use more or less depending on what you feel like). Bring to a boil again, reduce the heat, and let simmer until the veggies are tender and the chicken heated through.
    • While the soup is simmering, whisk or beat the egg whites until they form medium peaks. Add the yolks and the juice from the remaining 4 lemons. Be sure not to over beat.
    • When the soup is near ready, pour about two cups of the hot broth into the beaten eggs in a slow steady stream. (We want to temper the eggs, not cook them)
    • Pour the egg mix into the soup and stir to combine. 
    • Taste. Make any adjustments to seasonings. Serve in large bowls and enjoy! 
Sorry for the long set of directions and amount of prep/cook time for this recipe. Trust me. It's totally worth it! The soup is rich and creamy, with a pleasant lemon-y flavor. This is the perfect soup for a cold, wintery day!