Friday, February 5, 2010

Kotosoupa Avgolemono: Chicken & Rice Soup with Egg and Lemon

In Greek: κοτόσουπα αυγολέμονο, pronounced ko-TOH-soo-pah av-gho-LEH-mo-no

This soup is a favorite with Greek families and frequently served as a first course at the Easter table. There are several variations, and the egg-lemon sauce (avgolemono) is so popular that there are some who make a quick soup in the microwave using canned soup or broth, just to have the opportunity to add the avgolemono sauce, which is the crowning glory.

I like to serve this with a pepper grinder on the table for guests to add to taste.


  • 1 chicken, 3-4 pounds, cut in pieces
  • 15 cups of water
  • 2 cups of round rice
  • sea salt
  • ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1 tablespoon corn flour


Clean chicken and remove skin and fat.

Place the chicken in a large stock pot and add water. Bring to a full boil. Skim off any foam that rises to the top. When the foam stops, reduce heat, cover the soup and simmer until the chicken meat is falling off the bone, (depending on weight, about 2 hours or more).

Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside. Strain the broth, return to the pot, and bring to a boil. Add the rice, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Reduce heat, and simmer until the rice is done, approximately 20 minutes. Remove from the heat.

While the rice is cooking, bone the chicken and cut the meat into pieces.

In a mixing bowl, beat or whisk the egg whites until foamy. (If using an electric mixer, use speed 3.) Beat in egg yolks, corn flour, water, and lemon juice. Fill a measuring cup or coffee cup with hot soup broth and add slowly, beating (or whisking) continuously. If the hot liquid is added too quickly, the mixture will curdle. When the mix is fully blended, stir the soup and pour in the egg-lemon mixture slowly. Shake the pot gently to distribute. Do not stir.

Add the chicken meat to the soup and serve.

Yield: serves 8-10

Shopping tip: Round rice is best for this dish and if not available in your local market, can be found in Asian and other ethnic markets (may be labeled "pearl" rice). First choice as a substitute would be Italian risotto, and last choice would be regular short-grain rice. Long-grain rice is not a good choice for this dish.