Thinking Ahead | Avgolemono – Lemon Chicken Soup

I stood in this kitchen this morning knowing that I wanted a traditional Sunday dinner.  I was in the mood to let something cook, take a bit more time preparing something.  I pulled out one of my favorite books that I hadn’t looked at in a while: Heart of the Artichoke, by the wonderful David Tanis.  In it, the summer menus tugged at me and I decided to roast a spatchcocked chicken and make up a rice salad with some of the beautiful Carolina Gold rice some dear friends brought back from a summer vacation in South Carolina.

And, as luck would have it, none of this was actually time intensive.  I love it when I have the time to give to something and the fates tell me not to worry about it.

In addition to being a really nice guy, Mr. Tanis is such a clever chef and cook, in the book he offers numerous variations on many of his recipes, adding or omitting an ingredient or two and giving you a whole new way to enjoy a dish, transitioning from side dish to satisfying lunch in a short jump.  Really good stuff.  It’s a way to start thinking about what you have in the pantry and the fridge to re-purpose yesterday’s dinner into a wholly new meal.  It’s leftovers, elevated.

So tonight, after devouring half a lemony roast chicken and having just the teeny-ist bit of the herb rice salad leftover, I eyed the golden fond in the chicken roasting pan and remembered my favorite soup from Tasi: a lovely lemon chicken soup.  I had, with no original purpose in mind, cooked up a stock from the backbone of the chicken and some stray carrots from the garden while the afternoon whiled away.  I always need stock for something.  And successfully as a family we had somehow shown restraint and not eaten the whole chicken.  And the rice salad was dressed with shallots quick pickled in lemon and vinegar (homemade! I finally did it) then dressed with a fistful of chopped herbs.  What wouldn’t work about that?  So sitting on the counter and the stove were already the entire ingredients for the soup.  All that was needed was a couple of eggs from the fridge to thicken and enrich the soup.

With a quick shred, dump and pour, the soup was 90 percent ready.  I brought the pan to a simmer, scraped the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to remove all that browned chicken-y goodness and Tuesday’s dinner was done.  All I need do that night is heat it back up and temper two whisked eggs with the hot soup and add it all together.  A weeknight taste of Greece with no effort.

Background notes: the chicken was roasted at 400F for just over an hour, it was seasoned with salt and pepper, a generous amount of rosemary and thin slices of half a lemon.  I drizzled it with olive oil.

The rice salad was authentic Carolina Gold rice cooked like pasta: lots more water than it needed, and drained after about 12 minutes.  A “dressing” of red wine vinegar, juice from a whole lemon, and salt marinated a finely minced shallot for 10 minutes.  Then to that I added Dijon mustard and lots of olive oil (about 1/4c).  I added this to the cooled rice and tossed.  Then I added in almost a half a cup of minced assorted herbs from the garden (mint, garlic chives, parsley, dill) and tossed again.

Playlist included Mowgli’s Road by Welsh but Greek Marina and the Diamonds.


One thought on “Thinking Ahead | Avgolemono – Lemon Chicken Soup

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s