There isn't much in the world that can beat a hot bowl of chicken soup, and in Greece it's served with a refreshing twist of lemon, and fortified with rice.
- 1 whole chicken (1.2–1.4 kg)
- 1 large brown onion
- 1 carrot, peeled
- 1 stick celery, peeled
- 5 cups cold water
- 150 g short-grain rice, washed and drained
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 lemons, juiced
- olive oil, for drizzling
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To prepare this traditional Greek soup, thoroughly wash the chicken and place in a really deep pan or large pot. Push the chicken down to the bottom of the pan with your hands, add the onion, carrot and celery, pour in the water (enough to cover the chicken) and season liberally with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Place on a high heat, put the lid on and bring the water to the boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook the chicken for about 1¼ hours, skimming off the foam regularly. When the meat starts to fall away from the bones, the chicken is done.
Remove the chicken and vegetables from the broth and strain the broth through a mesh sieve, being careful not to burn yourself. Pour the strained broth into a pot, add the rice, season again with salt and pepper and bring the liquid to the boil. Cook until the rice is soft and starting to fall apart (approximately 10 minutes). Remove from the heat to cool.
While the broth is cooling, separate the egg whites, reserving the yolks, and whisk up the egg white to form soft peaks. Lightly beat the yolks and fold into the egg white with the lemon juice. After 5–10 minutes, ladle a spoonful of the soup into the egg mixture to temper it, then slowly stir the soupy egg mixture into the rest of the soup. The eggs will gently cook in the heat of the soup.
Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, pull the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Serve the soup hot, ladled into bowls with the chicken meat on the side, drizzled with olive oil and cracked pepper.
Recipe and image from The Great Australian Cook by Helen Greenwood & Melissa Leong (Five Mile Press) $49.99 available now.