There’s this new local soup and sandwich shop Ladles in Sweetgrass (the new Harris Teeter off Hwy 17 N) that serves up a fantastic Greek Lemon Chicken Soup…not tart, but fresh lemon flavor, hint of garlic, and just oh so comforting…even in the hot Lowcountry summer, which has gotten an early start.
But it’s not always convenient to go get it. And I needed something to make for my lunches this week that would make a little extra for one of our dinners. And…I’m a soup fanatic. Love it….hot or cold weather…but not really many cold soups.
So…what makes Greek Lemon Chicken Soup special? Well, to tell you the truth, it’s basically homemade chicken noodle soup with a special touch right at the end. Here’s how it goes.
- 6 large chicken breasts, skinless and boneless (about 4 lbs)
- 64 oz (8 cups total) chicken broth (homemade is best; for corn free, use Pacific Organic Free Range Chicken Broth or Harris Teeter Organic Chicken Broth)
- 4-6 large carrots, cleaned and roughly chopped
- 1-2 large sweet onions, roughly chopped
- 3-5 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 2-3 bay leaves
- salt and pepper as desired
- 2 cups Israeli couscous (little tiny pasta balls)–or 2 cups white rice which is more traditional and naturally gluten free
- 3 eggs
- juice and zest of 2 large lemons (alternate: 1 cup lemon juice)
Place the chicken, carrots, onions, garlic, bay leaves, and salt and pepper in a stock pot; cover with 32 oz of chicken broth (about 4 cups). Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes. This is to cook and flavor the chicken.
Remove the chicken and add the couscous and another 32 oz of chicken broth (about 4 cups). Cover and simmer while you shred (or chop) the chicken.
At this point, you have a fantastic and well-flavored Chicken Noodle Soup…and might very well choose to stop here.
Or…you can make and add the “Greek” part.
Whisk together three eggs and the juice and zest of two large lemons (about 1T zest and about 1/2 cup juice) in a large bowl. Be sure to use a large bowl, much larger than you think you need, because next you are going to add 2 cups of soup broth while whisking.
Get 2 cups of hot broth out of the soup pot; it’s okay if there’s some onion or couscous in it. I dip the broth out with a soup ladle and into a large measuring cup with a pour spout. This will come in really handy as I pour it into the egg mixture.
Start whisking away gently.
Dribble the hot soup broth into the egg mixture very slowly, whisking the whole time.
It will take about five minutes, so be patient and DO NOT rush this step. This is called “tempering” the eggs, warming them up without cooking them so that when you add the mixture to the soup, it will become naturally creamy from all of the proteins!
If you want more lemony taste, add some more lemon juice.
NOTE: this recipe is based off of one posted by Whole Foods for Greek Lemon and Chicken Soup.