Growing Up, I have distinct memories of spending days being sick at my Yia-yia's house. My infinitely brilliant mom, packed me up in the car with my dad and on his way to work, he would swing by Yia-yia's house. Upon my arrival, a warm spot on the couch would be waiting for me. Come lunch time, she would set up a chair and card table in the living room in front of the TV with endless reruns of Shirley Temple and most important, a stack of saltines and a bowl of avgolemeno soupa! If I was starting to feel better after lunch, Yia-yia would teach me some of the dance moves in the show and we would sing, "On the good ship, lollipop..."
My Yia-yia loved being helpful and took great care of me, my mom wrangled the three younger kids knowing I was being cared for. Now that I see life juggle two kids (hardly four!) when one of them gets sick, life slows down and things have to drop.
As we have battled a series of colds this winter (Haven't we all? The crazy weather and the long winter seem to be amplifying the flu and cold season. I hope your family is coming around the bend if you too have been feeling ill.) Mark reminded me of Yia-yia's soup. I turned to pinterest and google, but the recipes I found all came up short. They added too many ingredients, or seemed to skip key steps. And then I found a forgotten recipe penned by my Yia-yia herself. These cards were clearly written to a young bride -- I don't think Yia-yia ever used canned chicken broth and she gave me the tip that extra rice could be used for another meal. My favorite is that she encouraged me to "write if there's a problem." Imagine waiting for that reply!
scroll down for the recipe typed out.
Yia-Yia's Avgolemeno Soupa
5.5 cups of broth - either (3) 14.5 ounce cans or homemade broth
1 cup of uncooked rice
3 cups of water -- above Yia-yia says 3.5-4 cups of water, she liked soggy rice!
Butter and Salt to taste -- sometimes I forget these, they aren't essential
1-2 lemons for juicing or 1 cup of lemon juice
Shredded chicken (or left over turkey works too)
Directions: order adapted slightly from above
Tip -- you will likely need two pots unless you want to do some washing in between.
Bring water and salt (if desired) to a boil.
Add rice (and butter), stir, lower heat, cook 20-25 minutes until desired tenderness
While rice is cooking, juice your lemons
Pour broth into your bigger pot and cook over medium high heat
(once the rice is finished, add a cup of cooked rice to the broth)
While the broth is heating, crack and beat three eggs until thick and creamy
As you continue to beat the eggs, add the lemon juice slowly
Scoop a cupful of the warm broth and get ready to pour it into the lemon and egg mixture (still beating)
THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP:
As you combine the broth, pucker your lips and "kiss kiss kiss" the air until combined
this has been scientifically proven to prevent curdling - even grown greek men don't skip this step!Repeat the last two steps 1-2 times until the egg mixture warms up
Slowly add the mixture back into the pot of broth and rice cooking on the stovetop
Add in shredded chicken, and more salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with extra lemon
Never cover this soup when cooking or reheating. Always bring back to hot slowly and stir frequently to prevent curdling.
Do you have a family "get well" tradition?
What are your go to foods when feeling under the weather?