When you feel a bad cold coming on, what do you do?
Do you frantically get a slew of work done so that you can rest comfortably later?
Or do you immediately slow down in the hopes of mitigating the disastrous swath it might run through your life?
Me, I run to the market to buy a chicken.
There is little more comforting than a really good roast chicken for me; it’s homey and luxurious and deeply satisfying. Crispy skin. Moist, succulent meat. And then all those glorious pan juices which can be used to anoint a bowl of rice or tossed with hot croutons.
And then the leftovers are ideal for soup-making.
So this week, with a terrible sore throat and sinus headache coming on, I thought I’d best buy two chickens to make sure that I’d have enough for a big pot of soup.
You know what they say.
Chicken soup = nature’s penicillin.
This time, I remade my Roast Chicken with Pastis and Fennel. I’ve talked about it before– and it’s one of my favorite flavor treatments for whole roasted chicken.
So they went in looking like this.
And came out like looking this.
It’s a good thing I roasted two chickens — the first one was devoured and the second one was also dallied with, but no worries.
That still left me with lots of white meat to pull off for the soup.
I then pulled all the other ingredients together.
The Meyer lemon juice and 4 big egg yolks whisked together smelled delicious and looked like liquid sunshine.
I was going for a Greek style avgolemno; lemon, garlic and a thick, egg yolk-thickened chicken broth.
I simmered all the leftover bones in water for a good hour and a half until the stock was golden and rich.
In the meantime, I simmered an onion until it was lightly caramelized.
I strained the stock and discarded the bones, leaving me with a wonderfully fragrant stock. Because I wanted my avgolemono soup to have a silken texture, I pureed the onions and then added them to the stock.
I then added in the chicken, leftover cooked quinoa and rice, lots of chopped green onion, chopped garlic and parsley.
Just before serving, I whisked in the egg and lemon mixture plus a good amount of Sriracha for a little kick. I let that heat up and once it was bubbly-hot, I helped myself to a bowl.
It was a little frothy from the onions but it was so delicious.
Don’t have a leftover chicken on hand– or don’t want to wait?
I feel you.
Pick up a rotisserie chicken at the store.
Discard the skin, strip the carcass of all its meat, and then simmer the rest for about an hour with a little garlic and onion.
Strain it, and then discard everything but the stock. Add the chicken meat back into the stock, along with a little rice, quinoa or orzo — and a few egg yolks whisked together with lemon. The heat of the stock will cook the yolk and give the soup the most velvety mouth-feel.
Lemon. Garlic. Rich chicken stock. And then the boost of quinoa, the punch of Sriracha and the protein of shredded chicken.
I love you Avgolemono.
You’re my Big Fat Greek Lemon Chicken Soup.
(Take that, cold.)