I've decided I'm officially a cold wimp! I'm always cold in Santa Barbara, but especially lately. I think most Santa Barbarians would agree with me. We all tend to be a bit spoiled with very mild temperate weather. It hasn't helped that I spend most of my time now in the tropics where the temperature rarely dips below 80 degrees. No... but really, it has been very cold here in Santa Barbara the last week or so. Cold weather definitely puts me in the mood to cook comfort foods.
Long ago I learned from my Mother, if you want to see the kids, lure them with food, especially comfort food. This was my Mom's way. She was the queen of "comfort food". With ten kids, she did pretty well during my growing up years, always having the majority of us for dinner plus a few extra. I just love the way food brings family and friends together!
There is nothing better than a good soup as a comfort meal. I don't serve very many on Green Flash just because I don't think a hot soup fits the environment. However, this soup I do serve as a starter to a meal on Green Flash. It's one of those soups you don't have to eat super hot so it works. In a colder climate you can serve it hotter, add chicken as the protein, and make it the whole meal with a yummy loaf of bread.
My Mom was an incredible bread maker. She would grind her own wheat and make homemade bread for our family weekly. I can't say bread making is one of my fortes. Besides, there are so many wonderful artisanal bread makers out there now it's really not necessary.
In Santa Barbara I have a new favorite bread, Crazy Good Bread Company. They have many bread varieties and other special products to choose from.
I chose a Lemon Country loaf and Cold Pressed Meyer Lemon Olive Oil to go with my Avgolemono soup. The perfect pairing! Crazy Good Bread will ship their bread directly to you anywhere in the US. It ships well because their bread has a longer shelf life due to the starter they use which has naturally occurring yeasts. It will last for five to six days sitting on your counter without a bag. Each loaf of their bread is beautifully handcrafted and packaged. Great gift idea! Who wouldn't want to receive a beautiful homemade loaf of bread at their doorstep?
Avgolemono is a traditional Greek soup. There are many different versions. I first learned to make the traditional recipe in Chef Jane's class. I use her recipe when I am serving this as a starter to a meal. I add chicken, onions and garlic to the soup when I serve it as a main dish.
I have a gluten free daughter so this is a great soup for me to make for the kids. To make it healthier, I use brown rice instead of white rice or pasta. The traditional Greek recipe calls for orzo pasta. You can add extra lemon juice, I always do. I also use the lemon infused Olive Oil. If you want to save a step, you can always buy a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from the market and use the breast meat. I bake chicken breasts in the oven then shred. Doubling this recipe is a great idea. It makes for wonderful leftovers!
Recipe Type: Entree
- 2 tsp Olive Oil
- 1/2 C chopped Onion
- 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 6 1/2 C low sodium Chicken Stock
- 1/2 C uncooked Long-Grain White Rice, Brown Rice or Orzo Pasta
- 1/3 C fresh Lemon Juice
- 2 tsp Cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1 large Egg, lightly beaten
- 2 C shredded cooked Chicken Breast (about 8 oz)
- 2 T chopped fresh Parsley
- 2 T torn fresh Basil
- Heat a Dutch Oven or large pot over medium-high heat.
- Add Olive Oil to pan, swirl to coat.
- Add Onion and Garlic, sauté 2 minutes.
- Add Chicken Stock, bring to a boil.
- Stir in Rice or Pasta, reduce heat and simmer 16 minutes.
- Combine Lemon Juice, Cornstarch, Salt, Pepper and Egg in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.
- Slowly pour Egg into broth mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk.
- Add Chicken to broth mixture.
- Cook until mixture thickens and Rice or Pasta is done (about 3 minutes).
- Top with Parsley and Basil.