Kitchen Lessons: Avgolemono

One small and very attainable-feeling goal (in addition to these) I have this year is to be more proactive and adventurous in cooking–e.g. instead of letting the intriguing I-don’t-know-who’s-going-to-eat-this mushroom bourguignon and the terrifyingly finicky croquembouche (okay, good thing I have almost a year until ’tis the season to tackle that one) languish on my Pinterest board, I’m going to just COOK THEM!

Avgolemono // The Pancake Princess

Quick tangent, bear with me: as a food blogger, it can be tough to balance the abundance of wondrous food we get to eat with also not blowing up like a balloon. The delineation between tasting recipes and meals is often blurry at best, and when my hobby is being in the kitchen…surrounded by food…a lot more food can end up in my mouth than I originally bargained for.

Last year, deep in year 3 of blogging, I finally felt like I had fallen into a groove of eating normally and exercising healthfully despite an influx of more opportunities to eat out than ever before. After a lot of trial and error in terms of trying to get my diet under control, I finally realized that what’s helped the most is tracking what I eat through My Fitness Pal (not a paid endorsement, I just really like that app) and switching up what used to be an almost daily running schedule (which literally ran my knee out of commission for a good 1.5 years) with interval training interspersed with running. If you’re on instagram, chances are good you’ve come across Australian fitness megastar Kayla Itsines, so I won’t bore you with details but I’ve been following her interval training plan since late 2013 and have been really satisfied with my results.

ANYWHO the very long-winded point I’m trying to make is that at one point, Kayla kept talking about avgolemono, this Greek chicken soup that her grandparents used to make and I kept thinking WHAT IS THAT PLEASE MAKE THAT MINUS THE CHICKEN until, months later, my lovely classmate sent me a recipe for a fish version of avgolemono. Which finally inspired me to give this a go.
Avgolemono // The Pancake PrincessAvgolemono // The Pancake PrincessAvgolemono // The Pancake Princess




One extra-large pack of Costco tilapia purchased later, I finally brought the soup of my dreams to life. Aaaand it was nice. I heavily undersalted it the first time around, but adding the correct level of salt really helps highlight the gentle fish broth, which is thickened with lemons and egg. Because the recipe I used was vague about how much water and wine to use, I also ended up adding more liquid than I probably should have, resulting in a fairly thin soup that I think could have benefited from an extra egg and more lemon. Avgolemono // The Pancake Princess

This is a really light, clean-tasting soup. The unusual tang of lemon in the broth adds an interesting dimension of flavor, yet it’s about as soothing as any bowl of chicken noodle soup I had growing up. Making the stock from scratch is a bit of work, but you’ll be rewarded with a pile of very soft vegetables and fish that make either a good accompaniment to the soup, or delicious fritters fried up with some egg, dill and breadcrumbs–if you’re in a rush, a store-bought version of fish stock should work just fine!

P.S. For my Houston readers: The 8th Annual Artopia event is happening on January 30th from 8-11pm, and they’re having a flash sale starting today through January 17th with $20 tickets (normally $55). You can find out more about the event here and enter my giveaway to win a pair of tickets on Instagram!


Avgolemono
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Greek
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
This pescatarian version of avgolemono (Greek chicken soup) uses fish to create a light fish broth that is thickened with egg and lemon. You can add the cooked fish and vegetables you'll have leftover from making the stock to the soup, or fry them up separately into fish cakes/fritters. The vegetables listed are just guidelines--use your favorite amounts and types of vegetables when making the stock; all that matters is that you create a stock that you like!
Ingredients
  • 1.5-3 lbs white fish (I used 1.5 lbs of tilapia)
  • 3 carrots, peeled
  • 3 sticks celery
  • 2 large onions, peeled
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small russet potato, peeled
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons arborio rice (optional)
  • For the Avgolemono Sauce:
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 medium lemons, juiced
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Clean and salt the fish, if necessary (I just lightly rinsed and salted the fillets).
  2. Coarsely chop the carrots, celery and onions and place n a large saucepan along with the garlic, placing the fish on top. Cover with 8 cups water, wine and olive oil, then boil gently for ½ an hour.
  3. Strain out the vegetables and fish and reserve for another use. Return the stock to the saucepan, add the rice (if using) and simmer until cooked, about 20 minutes.
  4. To make the avgolemono sauce, vigorously beat the eggs in a large bowl together with the lemon juice.
  5. Very slowly pour in a thin stream of the warm fish stock to the egg mixture while whisking constantly. This helps prevent the eggs from cooking and curdling upon contact with the hot liquid. Once a few cups of stock has been incorporated, return the egg mixture to the pan and simmer over low heat until the soup thickens, about 15-20 minutes.
  6. Serve immediately with freshly ground black pepper and reserved fish and vegetables.
  7. Note: I reserved about half of the cooked fish and vegetables leftover from making the stock to serve in the soup. With the remainder, I added a beaten egg, dried dill, salt and pepper and formed them into patties. I dipped them in egg and then panko breadcrumbs before pan frying them, but I also fried a few without breading and they were equally tasty.
  8. Adapted from here: http://www.odysea.com/recipes/avgolemono.

 

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2 thoughts on “Kitchen Lessons: Avgolemono

  1. janet @ the taste space

    Do you not like mushrooms? Because if you do like them, then your problem will be having to share the mushroom bourguignon. One of the perks of blogging is cooking all the food you want to eat, no? At least that is how I approach it as a hobby. :)

    Reply
    1. janet @ the taste space

      Although on second thought, if you are trying to learn new techniques, perhaps you would be cooking things outside your comfort zone. I took a cooking class in French techniques before I was vegan, so I felt like I learned it before such that I don’t feel like I am missing anything now. I would not want to take the same class now, since I learned how to cut up a chicken, poach a fish, etc., which no longer appeals to me. The cooking school had a veg track though to help accommodate others, so I would simple seek out the techniques that work with what you want to eat.

      Reply

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