The Freshest of Starts to 2019
HUNGRY FOR LIFE is officially live! That's right, I've launched a fresh blog and I'm featuring some even fresher flavours in my first post. Let's go!
It's always a strange day when you realise that the holidays are officially over. Our guests have left and the decorations have all been taken down inside of our little London flat. But then you think "wait, wow it's a new year, it's time for a fresh start and it's time to get my butt in gear!" So after a hearty Bulgarian Christmas (never fear, I'll cover our celebrations in a future post) and countless cocktails, Kalo (my husband) and I were in need of a light, refreshing and comforting meal. For our first dinner of 2019 I made Valerie Bertinelli's Greek Lemon Chicken Soup and it was exactly what the doctor ordered.
“The secret is the slowly tempered eggs! I mean, who knew that you can add eggs to thicken a soup? Really and truly I was in awe.”
Valerie's recipe calls for 10 ingredients, all of which are staple items that many of us already have on hand like chicken stock, carrots, celery, eggs and lemon (it was a chilly day in London so Kalo volunteered to go out to grab some dill and a rotisserie chicken). There's minimal chopping involved and better yet the soup comes together in a matter of 40 minutes or less. The end result is delicate, lemony, creamy goodness that warms you from the inside out. Yes. I said creamy, however, the recipe does not call for milk, cream or half-and-half, plus there's no need for flour or cornstarch to make a roux. The secret is the slowly tempered eggs! I mean, who knew that you can add eggs to thicken a soup? Really and truly I was in awe. How long had Food Network been keeping this massive secret from me? 28 years! Needless to say I started 2019 with a huge revelation.
Quick confession. It's rare when I follow a recipe exactly as written so here's where I deviated from Valerie's original and hopefully some of my little tricks will help you in the kitchen too:
Bumped Up My Broth
I wanted to deepen the flavours of my broth so I added 3 large carrots, 3 stalks of celery and 3 shallots instead of just 1 of each per the recipe. I also dropped in a big bunch of dill as opposed to a single sprig.
Substituted Rotisserie Chicken
The directions have you boiling chicken breast in the broth which is all fine and dandy but I prefer the roasted flavour and the guaranteed juiciness of rotisserie chicken. You'll see soon enough that I'm the biggest fan of rotisserie chicken that there ever was.
You Can Never Have Too Much Orzo
The recipe calls for 1/3 rounded cup of orzo pasta. Well when I whipped out my 1/3 measuring cup I let out a laugh. We LOVE orzo in our house so I dumped in the whole bag. No judgement.
Lemon Brightens Everything
Kalo is lemon crazy so I used the juice of 3 whole, large lemons instead of just 3 tablespoons. I swear the soup was still so subtly delicious and there is just something magical about that dill, lemon and chicken combination.
Bottom line, make this recipe. I promise that this soup will not only warm up your January, it will freshen it up too. And don't we all deserve a fresh start here and there? Just a thought. Happy New Year to you all and thank you for coming on this exciting journey with me.