This post was meant to be about my experience of a pop up restaurant night in the Dublin Cookery School. Instead, it's about chicken soup. You don't need to be a super-sleuth to deduce what happened there.
I'm not sure why my cold-addled brain suddenly had a notion to make chicken, egg and lemon, or avgolemono, soup but once I realised I had all the necessary ingredients I knew I would have to scrape together the energy to find my way to the kitchen. Chicken soup is already the embodiment of comfort food but I think there was something about the added comfort of this soup bringing back memories of holidays in Greece, especially of being in Crete with my Mum, that enabled me to find the wherewithal to make this. It speaks volumes about the easiness of this recipe that I managed to put it together on a day when even pouring hot water on lemsip felt like serious gastronomy.
This soup is everything you need when you're under the weather; easy to digest with a comforting richness from the eggs and a burst of flavour (and hopefully a good bang of vitamin C) from the lemons. It's just what the doctor ordered.
avgolemono (adapted from the Ballymaloe Cookery Course book)
1.25 litres chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 free range chicken breast
50g orzo pasta (or other small pasta or rice)
juice of one and a half lemons
1 tbsp freshly chopped dill (I substituted 1 tsp of dried dill)
Bring the stock to a boil and add the dried dill (if using fresh you would add it at the end). Poach the chicken breast in the stock for 7 minutes, turn off the heat and allow the chicken to cool down in the stock for 10 minutes. Remove it from stock and shred it with two forks, set aside. Top the stock up with approximately 200ml water and put it back on the heat to come to a gentle simmer. Once simmering, add the orzo pasta. Juice the lemons, through a small sieve to remove the pulp and pips, into a bowl. Crack four eggs into the bowl and whisk together. Add about 4 ladles of warm stock to the egg and lemon mixture, whisking constantly. When the orzo is almost cooked through add this mixture back in to the rest of the stock and stir well. Add the shredded chicken and season to taste; you will require quite a bit of salt to balance the strong flavour of the lemon. Cook until the mixture thickens slightly, enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon. Make sure it does not boil at this point or it will curdle.