American College of Nutrition Certified Nutrition Specialist | Author | Professor of Nutrition

 

Super Chicken Soups

When the weather turns chilly and noses start running, nothing beats chicken soup to make us feel better.

Just about every culture has a version of chicken soup made richer and heartier by adding eggs. It was an inexpensive and tasty way to stretch that Sunday chicken for another meal, and now with good quality chicken broth available in the grocery store we don’t have to make our own stock to make these delicious soups.  avgolemono soup

Here’s how to make two versions, an Italian Stracciatella with pretty egg ribbons and a Greek Avgolemono that is creamy and smooth.

The base of each is low sodium chicken broth or stock, organic if you can find it. These soups can be doubled or halved to serve however many people are around.

Stracciatella:

Start by softening a few vegetables in a little olive oil. Onions have quercitin, an antioxidant that is especially good at protecting the sinuses, and carrots are full of vitamin A. This step is optional, but adding a few vegetables makes for a heartier, more interesting soup.

Add 4-6 cups of chicken broth and bring up to a boil. Add chopped baby spinach and simmer for several minutes. While the soup is simmering beat two eggs, then add a couple of tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese to the eggs and stir to blend. The cheese makes it richer tasting and helps the eggs maintain their pretty shape.

Turn off the heat on the soup, and add the eggs slowly. If you also slowly stir the soup, the eggs will cook in long strips, like delicate ribbons. Add salt and pepper to taste. The soup is now done!

Avgolemono

Start the same way, with a few vegetables softened in a little olive oil if you like. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Then add ½ cup of plain rice (white tastes best here) and simmer until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Chopped baby spinach is not traditional in this soup, but I think its good. If you have some on hand add it when the rice is done.

While the soup simmers, beat two eggs in a medium size bowl and add the juice of one large or two small lemons. The acid from the lemon juice will help keep the eggs from scrambling when they are added to the soup.

When the rice is tender, turn off the heat on the soup and whisk a ladle full of the hot soup to the eggs and lemon juice. When combined add another ladle of hot soup to the egg mixture, whisking it. This should bring the eggs up to temperature, so they will not seize and scramble when they hit the hot soup.

Add the egg mixture to the soup pot, and stir until combined and the soup is creamy. Season to taste and you are done!

Tempering the eggs sounds complicated, but it is really quite simple and once you do it the first time it will be a breeze. These soups are so good and fast and easy – everyone will think you are a magician in the kitchen.

 

 

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