Friday, 10 January 2014

It's All Greek To Me - Lemon Soup

Fanny says there are two ways to make this unusual (for me) soup, which vary drastically in quality. If you want your soup to taste practically like pond water, use a stock cube. If you want your soup to be delicate and delicious then it needs to be made with well seasoned and good quality stock. It doesn't seem like much of a choice does it, although for me Fannys choice of chicken stock just isn't an option. For Fanny, making this soup for an everyday occasion involves simmering the carcass of a chicken in ordinary white meat stock until it's tender. For the 'peak of perfection' Fanny suggests smashing down an 'old fowl' to a 'sad pulp', covering it with water, adding herbs, lemon and orange peel and simmering until the 'poor old hen is purged' of all flavour. For me, I decide to use some vegetable stock powder in which I steep the peel and herbs for an hour or so - will it be purged or pond water?


Fanny wouldn't be pleased with my lack of bird violence but hey ho I am fairly confident that this stock will taste great, it is well seasoned and good quality after all - nothing like a standard cube. I'm keen to taste this lemon soup - or Soúpa Avgholémono as Fanny describes it in Greek - at any rate, and I can't miss out just because I won't bash a chicken to bits. Once steeped, I strain the stock into a small pan, add some rice, and gently simmer it for around 10 minutes. 


The soup is smelling sensational at this point, really fresh, vibrant and well lemon-y. Fanny has one last trick to add a bit of flourish to this otherwise simple soup - adding an egg yolk to thicken it, along with the juice and rind of some zingy lemons. I'm a bit nervous about adding the yolk, Fanny warns me it might curdle if it's too hot. However, taking the soup off the heat, I confidently add the zest and juice before flinging in the yolk and beating it in quickly. Not in a violent way.


The colour and texture of the soup changed instantly, from a somewhat (I will admit) pond water-like liquid to something much more rich and lush, if a little reminiscent of thin lemon curd. Fanny guides me to gently heat it again in a double pan. Oh, I don't have one of those, so just have to stir it carefully over a very very low heat until it thickens a little. The soup tastes fantastic despite expecting it to be sweet by look alone - it's deep, zesty and perfect for a new year zing. The rice gives it a good bit of substance. Nothing like pond water and not a smashed up, bashed in old fowl in sight. 

8 comments:

  1. That just sounds a bit odd but you make it sound quite delicious!

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    1. I was surprised, sounded odd to me too, but turned out to be lovely!

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  2. I grew up in Greece and Avgholémono is very commonplace - It's not actually a soup in itself but a method to add flavour and thicken a variety of soups. My mother used to add it to fish soup as well as chicken and beef based broths. I am planning to blog a recipe soon - as I think the flavour which I disliked as child would probably be a favourite as an adult!

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    1. Would love to see what you do, I loved the taste and the method... Thanks!

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  3. Oh that looks good. My stomach is rumbling. Must be time for dinner!

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  4. Avgolemono is one of my favourite soups and yours and Fanny's version looks fantastic. Yum!

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    1. Thanks, i was really pleased with how it worked out, I can see why it would be a favourite!

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