Monday, November 5, 2012
I should start this by saying, I fully stand behind the idea that people from the East Coast live in a bubble. Growing up in New England, everything between Pennsylvania and California is a big jumbled mess in my head. Even after years of now living in the Midwest. The Monkey Scientist constantly makes fun of me when I mix up Iowa and Idaho (you think living one state away that I'd get it, but it's still a frequent flip flop in my head) or when I try to think about how far West certain states are. Once you get to the South, I have no idea what falls on which side of Texas. Including Louisiana, and I've driven there. It's pretty embarrassing.
Before I went to Michigan for undergrad, I thought it was about a bajillion miles from Boston. Once I'm in Michigan, I'll be able to take road trips to California, right? And I for sure thought it was about two times zones over when it turns out it's totally in the same time zone. And I know I'm not the only one from the East Coast who thinks that. The first time my mom and I went out there to look at U of M, we thought it was a good idea to "go check out Detroit" and so we went to a Coney Island in Greektown (which is amazing by the way) and I first tried this amazing soup. Avgolemono. Even the name is fancy. And I fell in love.
And then we subsequently drove three hours in the wrong direction into Canada. Who knew that actual Canada was ever that far South? We thought it was just a city named Canada! (i.grew.up.in.a.bubble)
I have been trying to replicate this recipe for a long time but without much success. I recently bought a new cookbook called "This is a Cookbook" after reading about it in the NY Times. I'm not a big cookbook buyer (the ever growing blog roll in my Google Reader gives me more recipes than I could ever make) but this book spoke to me. It's exactly how I love to cook. SIMPLE. Short ingredient lists. Lots of low and slow cooking to develop flavor. A little bit of Asian food. Plus there was a recipe for Avgolemono. AND it's based on the Avgolemono from Coney Islands in Detroit. I knew I had a winner.
And it's everything I hoped it would be. The ingredient list is so simple. Nothing fancy here at all. Chicken broth, a whole chicken, white rice, lemon juice, egg yolks, salt and pepper. It's exactly what needs to be there and nothing more. It's sour and lemony but hearty and warming at the same time. There's nothing quite like it. If you're missing Detroit, or you just love a REALLY good soup, you should make this. Unless you're feeding my dad or brother or some other crazy person who hates lemon. Then you're on your own.
slightly adjusted from This is a Cookbook
six cans (87 oz) high quality, low sodium chicken broth (or make your own)
1 4-lb whole chicken (neck and things removed and saved for stock)
1 3/4 c white rice
4 egg yolks
juice from 4 lemons
salt and pepper
1. Add the broth and chicken to a large pot. Cover partially and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low and simmer 30 minutes.
2. After 30 minutes, skim the fat from the top of the broth and flip the chicken over. Cover partially again and simmer for an additional 30 minutes.
3. Remove the pot from the heat. Remove the chicken and set aside to cool on a large plate. Add the rice to the pot and bring it back up to a simmer. Cover and allow to cook for 20 minutes.
4. Once the chicken is cool enough to touch, remove and discard the skin. Remove all the meat from the bones and shred. (Save the bones for stock!) After the rice is cooked, add the chicken back into the pot. Remove from heat.
5. Whisk the egg yolks in a heat proof bowl. While whisking continuously, slowly add 1/2 c ladles of soup to the yolks to temper (prevent curdling) until they are close in temperature to the soup.
6. Add the egg/broth mixture back into the pot, along with the lemon juice. (Do not turn on the heat!) Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.