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Posts Tagged ‘chicken’

Avgolemono Soup

This classic Greek soup reminds me of both my Mom and my late Yia Yia (Grandma), this is one of my all time favorite comfort foods. The perfect dinner on a cool night or when you have the sniffles. My husband, Mark, swears this is an acquired taste, I have been trying for 7 years to get him to like it, but he just isn’t a fan of the lemon. I personally think the lemon is what makes this soup and the more the better. Growing up in a Greek family, this soup was a winter staple and definitely something I would beg my Mom for when I was feeling under the weather.

I find some soups taste good enough made with store-bought stock, if you don’t have time to make your own, this soup isn’t one of those. It needs homemade stock, made from scratch, cooked for a few hours. It’s the only way. Whenever we make a whole roast chicken, I freeze the bones for stock, I love being able to make my own stock. I usually go very simple with the spices on my roast chicken so whatever is leftover is perfect for making stock with. I personally prefer to make each stock specific for each soup I make, since most times the ingredients that I add to the stock varies to each recipe. 

This soup is a very simple to make, only a few ingredients. I like mine with a lot of fresh ground pepper and the perfect amount of rice. Too much rice and it isn’t brothy enough, too little rice and it’s just not quite right. Some people prefer orzo to rice, but I like the classic white rice much better. If it were possible, I would always have a fresh pot of this soup in the fridge, ready to be warmed up whenever I wanted it. Thickened with eggs and brightened with the lemon, there is really nothing like this. This is my family’s recipe and honestly, have tried other people’s Avgolemeno before and it just isn’t nearly as good, in my opinion.

Chicken Stock

2-3 quarts of water
Bones from a whole roast chicken 3-4 lbs (I prefer organic, free range and without hormones or antibiotics)
1 large onion, quartered
2 garlic cloves, halved
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons pepper

In a large stockpot, (use the strainer that fits in your stock pot if you have one) combine all the ingredients and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 2 1/2 hours, skimming the surface occasionally to remove any foam that forms on the surface. I added a bit more water as it was cooking to keep the chicken and vegetables covered. The longer you cook the stock, the stronger the flavor will be, but 2 1/2 hours was more than adequate and the stock had a fantastic flavor to it.

Remove the meat and bones and reserve, any meat on the bones can be separated and added back to the soup. If you didn’t use the strainer when making the stock, strain the stock to remove all the vegetables and other bits and add back to the pot. Throw out the bones and vegetables. Use the stock immediately or let the stock cool completely, and refrigerate overnight. Skim any fat that forms on the surface. Keep refrigerated in airtight containers until ready to use, up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months. Since I was using the stock immediately, I skimmed any visible fat off the top, made sure that it was strained of everything, and kept it on a low heat while I prepped everything for the soup. You will probably end up with about 48 ounces of stock when making it homemade (give or take). Use all of it.

Avgolemono Soup
serves 4-6

6 cups homemade chicken stock*
1/2 cup rice
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
2 eggs
juice from 2 lemons

Bring the stock to a boil, stir in rice, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked.

Meanwhile, separate the eggs. Beat the egg yolks in a small bowl, set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whip the egg whites until peaks form. Add in the egg yolks, stir until well blended. Add lemon juice, barely mix, just enough to combine (you don’t want to break the whites).

Slowly ladle the hot soup into your egg mixture until the mixture is warm, stir constantly. You want to do this slowly so as not to cook the eggs to fast. Pour the mixture back into the pot of soup very gently. Taste the soup, salt and pepper to your liking. Ladle into large soup bowls with a lemon wedge on the side, top with freshly ground black pepper.

*If you absolutely must use store-bought chicken stock, you most definitely can. The soup is still very good.

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Beet, Orange and Walnut Salad

The finished salad without the preserved lemons since those made it on at the last-minute and the walnuts since we burnt them

Whenever we travel to Chicago for either Flatstock or the Renegade Craft Fairs, we are lucky enough to stay with our good friends Jason (of Delicious Design League), his lovely wife Margaux and their adorable 18-month old son, Desmond. They are always so incredibly gracious and welcoming to us and staying with them makes being on the road not so uncomfortable. Margaux always cooks or bakes for us, which is one of my favorite parts of our visit. I absolutely love traveling, but being away from my kitchen and home-cooked food is hard, especially since we spend so much time working when we travel, that we rarely get to go out and experience nice restaurants fit for a foodie, so it ends up being a lot of fast eating and festival food. That part of traveling exhausts me.

This trip, since Margaux and I both recently started our own cooking blogs, we decided to make something together, along with our good friend Anne, and post about it on our blogs. Check out Margaux’s blog,  Sweet and Savory Kitchens, that she keeps with her Aunt Suzy. I love the way they post and comment on each other’s recipes or take inspiration from each other’s dishes and create their own.

Margaux had made some preserved lemons, when the Meyer lemons were in season this year and has been experimenting with a lot of different Moroccan dishes using them. She really wanted to make a Moroccan inspired dinner for us and I was all for it since I had never cooked Moroccan food. The dish we were both most excited about was this Beet, Orange and Walnut Salad which features the preserved lemons (which coincidentally, we almost forgot at the end). Since Meyer lemons are no longer in season, you could purchase premade preserved lemons from the store, make preserved lemons with regular lemons or you can skip them all together in this salad and it would still be great. Either way, you must try preserved lemons if you never have, they are incredible and bring a level of fresh and tangy flavor that I have never tasted before. I definitely plan on making some preserved lemons next year when they are in season. I can’t wait.

With this Beet, Orange and Walnut Salad, we also made a simple Oven Baked Chicken, which Margaux marinated beforehand with some delicious Moroccan inspired spices. As an additional side we made Margaux’s house staple, Green Rice, which I loved so much that I made it the first day we were home (look for a blog post about that soon).

Being with good friends and/or family, sharing food, cooking and spending time in the kitchen is most definitely one of my favorite things in the world and I cherish those memories and hold them close to my heart. I have memories from being a child and cooking with good friends of the family, with my Yia Yia, my Dad and so many other people whom I love. Those moments, whether you realize it at the time or not, have so much emotion attached to them that you can smell or taste something years later, that you cooked with someone you love and those memories just come flooding back. Preserved lemons will definitely do that for me and always remind me of Margaux and this dinner.
Check out Marguax’s post about this dinner here.

Beet, Orange and Walnut Salad

The Beets


Me cutting the beets for the Beet, Orange and Walnut Salad

Me, cutting the beets, which by the way really leave your hands stained


Beets for the Beet, Orange and Walnut Salad

1 lb. beets
olive oil

Wash beets, pat dry, peel and cut into wedges. Place in a baking dish and lightly coat with olive oil. Cover with foil and bake 45-60 minutes in a 375 degree oven until done. Cool and set aside. The original recipe called for baking the beets whole with the skin on, slipping it off after they come out and cutting them into wedges then. We decided it seemed easier to peel and cut them first.

The Walnuts

Walnuts for the Beet, Orange and Walnut Salad

the walnuts, before they were burnt

1/2 cup walnut halves
pinch of sugar
1 tbsp walnut oil
salt and pepper to taste

Toss all ingredients together and place on a baking sheet. Toast in the 375 degree oven for 5-7 minutes (keep a close eye on them after 5 minutes!!! (We had them on the bottom rack in with the beets and I was in charge of watching them. I definitely burnt them and we didn’t have extra, so had to go without in the salad). Cool. Chop coarsely and set aside.

The Dressing

5 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tbsp walnut oil
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper

Whisk together.

Final Assembly

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we ended up with blood oranges, which we didn’t know until we cut into them, but they were delicious and so beautiful

2 navel oranges
1/4 preserved lemon, diced (optional)
1 head romaine lettuce

Prepare the oranges by cutting off the top and bottom. Cut off the skins with a knife so that no white pith remains. Then cut into sections. Wash the lettuce and either tear or cut into pieces. Dry. Toss the lettuce with half the dressing and place on a platter. Toss the beets with the remainder of the dressing and place on top of the lettuce. Garnish with the orange sections, preserved lemon and walnuts.

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Margaux and Anne in the kitchen

Desi

Desi being cute.

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The spread

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