1 1/2 cups leftover cooked chicken, torn
2-3 shallots, halved and thinly sliced
4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
2/3 cup orzo
4 pasture raised eggs
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1-2 cloves garlic, finely grated on a microplane
olive oil, for sautéing
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Freshly cracked pepper to taste
1 large handful dill sprigs, to garnish
There is nothing quite so soothing as a bowl of warm, creamy soup on a cold day. With the addition of fresh lemon juice and zest, avgolemono is bright and uplifting as much as it is comfort-in-a-bowl.
Set a pot of water to boil and cook orzo according to package instructions. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, sauté sliced shallots over medium-high heat in a cast-iron skillet for 5 minutes or until translucent, stirring occasionally to keep them from sticking to the pan. Once softened and beginning to caramelize, remove from heat, leaving them in the pan. The residual heat will continue to cook the shallots further, deepening their flavor.
Separate yolks from whites by cracking the egg on the side of a bowl, then emptying the egg into your cupped hand. Spread your fingers just enough to allow the white to pass through, gently passing the egg back and forth between your hands until the yolk is completely freed of the white. Gently slip the yolk into a small bowl and repeat with remaining eggs.
Heat stock over medium-low heat in a large saucepan. Add to it the grated garlic and stir to incorporate. While stock warms, blend lemon juice, zest, and yolks together in the vitamix until uniform and creamy.
Once stock is hot but not boiling (turn heat off at this time), transfer a few ladlefuls to a spouted measuring cup. With the blender running on medium/medium-low, pour stock in a bare drizzle until fully incorporated, pausing halfway through to scrape down the sides as needed. This gradual addition and vigorous mixing tempers the eggs without scrambling them, and creates a lush body for the soup.
Gradually pour tempered egg mixture into warm stock while whisking to combine. Add salt and pepper and stir, adjusting seasoning as necessary. Whisk soup for an additional 2-3 minutes and simmer until slightly thickened.
I like to assemble a pile of orzo, shallots, and chicken into each bowl, then ladle the flavorful broth on top. If you prefer to add the shallots (still in the pan, now at room temp), chicken, and orzo directly to the soup, that is fine too. If using this method, stir well to incorporate. Garnish avgolemono with freshly cracked black pepper and a generous amount of fresh dill. Serve immediately.