Greek (ish) Lemon Chicken Rice Soup
My time in Greece wasn’t the most interesting of places I’ve lived, but the food, OH THE FOOD!!! Greek food is by far the best I’ve had overseas, and consistently so. I don’t recall ever having a bad Greek meal, so whenever I have the opportunity to eat at a Greek restaurant, or the ingredients to make something myself, I’m on it. Tzatziki, spanikopita, saganaki, chicken gyros, and Greek salads with loads of yummy feta. My mouth waters just thinking about it.
I usually have a tub of homemade tzatkiki, available for all our dipping and topping needs, but here in Argentina they don’t sell plain yogurt anywhere. If it doesn’t have some kind of flavor or sugar in it, it’s not for sale. I recently began making my own yogurt at home, so once I perfect the texture, I can resume having tzatkiki as a household staple. They also don’t sell feta cheese, so I’ve taken to making lemon chicken rice soup as the only thing remotely Greek I’m able to make.
I say it’s Greek-ish because I can’t say this is an authentic Greek recipe, and I’m sure that someone’s Greek grandmother would say it’s not her recipe, but it’s pretty damn tasty! I went searching for an authentic recipe a few years ago, and as usual, something was always missing. Some were too time consuming, called for more eggs than I would like, or didn’t include vegetables, and I always try to throw a couple veggies into anything I make. So with some trial and error, this is my pretty simple and delicious recipe.
As usual with my recipes, you can adjust the measurements, because I almost always do. Sometimes I use more carrots and less chicken, and I love lemon so I often use more than listed, and if I use seasoned chicken then I’ll use more water and less broth so as not to have a salty mess.
This recipe feeds our family of 6, with leftovers for a couple of days.
8-12 cups of chicken broth/water (I use bouillon cubes and start with 8 or 9 cups of broth and then add more depending on taste and whether I’m happy with the consistency)
1 cup lemon juice (My starting point but I usually add more)
1-2 cups chopped carrots
1-2 cups potatoes (you can omit the potatoes, but I like to make heartier soups for my always hungry kids)
1 cup Celery
1-3 cups chicken, to taste (cooked breast/rotisserie chicken/uncooked quarters)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 cup uncooked rice
A few bay leaves
1 cup onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Combine chicken broth/water/bouillon and celery, onion, garlic, bay leaves, and chicken legs/thighs if using uncooked chicken, in a large pot. Cook on medium until boiling, and then simmer for 30 minutes. When chicken looks done, remove from pot and shred once cool enough to do so.
Meanwhile, add carrots, potatoes, rice, and lemon juice to the pot and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Return shredded chicken to pot, or add shredded chicken breast or rotisserie chicken if using previously cooked chicken.
I like using cooked chicken breast sometimes because I season it so it adds a bit more flavor to the soup. It also reduces the cooking time of the soup by about 30 minutes. However, I probably use uncooked legs/thighs more because the chicken always ends up more tender.
At this point the rice and carrots should be tender so I start adjusting for taste. Here is where I add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and more lemon juice if necessary.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Take a ladel and slowly add about a cup of the cooked soup broth to the beaten eggs with a whisk. This must be done very slowly so that your eggs don’t turn into a scrambled mess. Once combined, return mixture to pot. Your soup should be nice and rich at this point, but you can always repeat this step with another egg if you’d like.