a week or two back here in central texas, we had this crazy weather pattern happenin’. one day i was walking around in flip-flops, minding my own business, when i heard that it would be 20 degrees the next day. well, i scrambled home and harvested every scrap of green from my ‘winter’ garden: spinach, arugula, parsley, fennel, mint, and dill. the oregano i covered with a sheet and three days later, when the freakish weather ended, it said ‘meh’ and went right back to growing like a weed. even the scraps of mint i was unable to pull out in time are now back to their regular ol’ selves again.
whenever i comes across dill’s intoxicating aroma, i have an unending desire to make this soup. it has been a tried and true favorite of mine for many years, just the thing when winter gloom sets in; warm and filling, but bright and sunny all wrapped up together. early that frigid morning, i managed to make it to the farmer’s market to visit a chilly friend who works at vital farms and sells eggs there on the weekend. i also found a farmer who sold me these beautiful green onions next to her booth. i already had a little piece of chicken (did you hear what he called you? a little piece of chicken! bonus points for naming that movie) at home in the fridge and some homemade chicken stock in the freezer from another adventure just waiting to fulfill it’s destiny in something as warm and soothing as this.
avgolemono means egg + lemon. makes sense, right? you’ve heard it before, but i’m sure there as many versions of this as there are cooks in greece, it’s country of origin. traditionally it is made with chicken stock only, not chopped chicken, and i think adding dill is also an americanization of this soup. but i’m ok with that. i have let go of many of my purist ways over the last several years, as long as the spirit of the dish remains the same, i can let it go. especially if it tastes good! i do also feel some sentimentality as it was with this recipe that i learned the skill (and importance) of tempering an egg.
my ‘rescue’ dill:
avgolemono (serves 4-6)
2 tbsp olive oil
4-5 green onions, thinly sliced and divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4-1/3 cup fresh dill, chopped
6 cups fresh chicken stock
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, small dice
2 eggs, separated
juice of 2 small lemons
1 cups white rice or orzo
lots of freshly ground black pepper
heat olive oil in medium stock pot. add all but 2 tbsp green onion and garlic and saute for i minute. add chicken stock, bring to a boil and toss in diced chicken. bring back up to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes, until chicken is tender. add 1 cup rice or orzo and cook until tender. this will add starch to the mixture-you want that. meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk egg whites by hand (or with a stand mixter) until soft peaks form. add egg yolks and lemon juice and whisk together. slowly add 1 cup hot soup stock to egg mixture, whisking continuously. this is a very important step (you are tempering!). you do not want to add the eggs to the pot before you do this or you will end up with some form of egg drop soup. add egg mixture back to soup pot, stirring as you add it so eggs do not scramble. remove from heat and add dill and salt to taste. top with remaining green onion and lots of freshly ground pepper.