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Author Notes: In the island of Zakynthos, where my family comes from, avgolemono soup is a marker for many special occasions and celebrations throughout the year. Whereas in other parts of Greece Xmass dinner will be a turkey of a beef roast, in our house it's always a brimming soup bowl of avgolemono [followed by a big plate of meatballs, but that's another recipe for another time]. There is no orzo [sacrilege!] or chicken [unthinkable!] in this soup. It's barebones basic clean tasting beef broth with a hint of celery, with rice and the magical egg lemon mix that pulls everything together. I always go overboard with the grated gruyere cheese and freshly grated black pepper on top of my plate. Others prefer it pure or with a bit of extra lemon thrown in. —Denisious
Serves: 4 or more
Beef, celery, water, salt
pounds Beef with bones, meaty short ribs work well as do beef shanks
liters water, or until the meat is well submerged
sprigs celery, chinese celery if possible
Salt to taste
- We usually use the pressure cooker for this. Bring the beef to a boil and skim the scum that floats on top. Close the PC and when it reaches pressure keep the meat cooking for about 45 minutes or until fall of the bone tender.
Medium grain rice [arborio and all risotto rices would work well here], approximately one egg per portion [separated], freshly squeezed lemon juice
egg, per portion
tablespoon lemon juice, per portion
tablespoons medium grain rice, per portion
plateful of beef broth from above, per portion
salt to taste
- Boil broth with rice until rice is done but still retains a bit of "tooth". When rice is done remove pot from heat so that broth is very warm but not hot.
- Meanwhile, beat the egg whites with a whisk until soft peaks appear, we are not making meringues here!
- Beating the mixture with the whisk at a low speed mixing a couple of ladlefuls of warm broth from the pot so as to temper the egg mixture. When those are incorporated...
- Carefully and slllllowly empty the egg mixture into the pot of warm broth/rice while stirring gently with a bit of top to bottom action so the mixture circulates all over the pot. Don't over do this mixing step you can always mix a bit more when serving the soup.
- HOT TIP: while mixing the egg-lemon with the soup you must make kissing sounds with your mouth towards the pot and mixture. Presumably this helps the avgolemono NOT separate :)
- We usually return the pot covered on the warm stove while preparing the plates etc. for serving so the soup has a chance for a final [gentle!] warm up. Serve immediately and top with a sharp grated cheese [gruyere or pecorino being my personal favorites] and lots of freshly milled pepper
- Serve the boiled beef on the side, I personally mix it in my soup but most people eat it separately with a bit of mustard