Avgolemono Soup Recipe With Turkey
Creamy, lemony, and oh so delicious, avgolemono soup made with just five simple ingredients is the ultimate soup for a cold day. Traditionally made with chicken, but equally if not more amazing with turkey and homemade turkey broth.
Growing up we would have a traditional Thanksgiving lunch with my big fat Greek family. My aunts would each take a holiday where we would all get together to share a meal, conversation, Trivial Pursuit, and a card game of 31.
My mom’s holiday was Thanksgiving. 25 of us would gather at 1 pm for a Thanksgiving lunch, then everyone would stay for dinner, which was the traditional avgolemono soup plus any leftovers from lunch.
We would immediately start boiling the turkey carcass as soon as the turkey was carved to make a homemade broth.
By 6 pm the broth was ready, so it was strained, supplemented with chopped turkey, frothed egg yolks with freshly squeezed lemon and orzo or alphabet pasta. The family patiently waited all day for the soup and it was often the highlight of the Thanksgiving meal.
Traditionally made with orzo, my mom catered to the 20 kids in the family by using alphabet shaped pasta rather than orzo. With just five ingredients and a little technique – you can make this amazing soup.
4 – 6 cups of homemade chicken or turkey stock or store-bought chicken stock
16 oz of orzo pasta
1 1/2 cups roasted turkey (or chicken), diced
1/2 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed (2 lemons)
6 egg yolks
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon chicken or vegetable bouillon (optional)
The avgolemono sauce that is the essence of the soup is made with fresh lemon juice and eggs, tempered with the turkey broth. There are many recipes for avgolemono, but there is a lot of room for error if you don’t use the right technique.
In the Greek cookbook, I published years ago we ended up with a page dedicated to three avgolemono sauce recipes because it was the most contested and debated item in the book among the ladies at my church.
I will share my family’s method below as it is tried and true and in my opinion creates the most luscious, creamy avgolemono soup.
How to Make Traditional Avgolemono Soup
Homemade chicken or turkey stock is the best for avgolemono because it adds a depth of flavor you don’t get from the store-bought stock. But you can use the store-bought stock and add some chicken or vegetable bouillon, like the Better Than Bouillon brand to add that homemade flavor if you don’t have homemade stock on hand.
Roasted chicken or turkey also adds flavor to the soup. I often buy a rotisserie chicken just to make this soup.
Start by pouring the broth into a stockpot. Add the roasted turkey and bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer and add the orzo.
Meanwhile, juice two lemons to get 1/2 cup of lemon juice. If your lemons do not have enough juice for 1/2 cup, you may need to use a 3rd lemon.
Separate the whites from the egg yolks and put the yolks into a blender. The whites can be used for a different recipe like an egg-white omelet, or for making a meringue.
Blend the egg yolks with the lemon juice for about 2 minutes until the mixture is foamy and frothy.
Take 2 ladles full of the hot broth and slowly pour into the blender, while blending to temper the eggs. Don’t add all at once – stream it into the whirling blender so you don’t scramble the eggs. Add the 2nd ladle full – about 1 cup total to the broth. The egg-lemon sauce should be foamy and frothy and ready to be added to the soup.
Turn the heat off the stove.
Slowly pour the egg-lemon mixture into the pot, stirring slowly.
Cover the pot and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
Serve with fresh cracked pepper.
The egg yolks are cooked through by tempering in the blender with the hot broth and through steaming in the pot. Do not bring the soup back up to a boil because you can ruin the consistency of the soup.
The result is a creamy, luscious, lemony soup the whole family will love!
Can Avgolemono Be Made With Rice?
Avgolemono can also be made with rice and in many Greek restaurants, I’ve found it made with rice and thickened with corn starch.
However, the traditional soup is prepared with orzo or any short pasta noodle-like alphabet pasta. The pasta gives the soup a thick consistency and a delicious bite.
While I suggest 2 lemons, if you don’t get 1/2 cup of juice – you may need to go to 2 and 1/2 lemons.
How Much Juice is in a Lemon
According to Cooking Light Magazine.
Here is the estimated amount of juice in one lemon:
1 Small Lemon (4 oz.) = 3 tablespoons fresh juice
1 Medium Lemon (5 oz.) = 4 tablespoons fresh juice
1 Large Lemon (6 oz.) = 5 tablespoons fresh juice
- 4 cups of homemade chicken or turkey stock or store-bought chicken stock
- 16 oz of orzo pasta
- 1 1/2 cups roasted turkey or chicken, diced
- 1/2 cup lemon juice freshly squeezed (2 lemons)
- 6 egg yolks
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon chicken or vegetable bouillon optional
- Start by pouring the broth into a stockpot. Add the roasted turkey and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer and add the orzo.
- Meanwhile, juice two lemons to get 1/2 cup of lemon juice. If your lemons do not have enough juice for 1/2 cup, you may need to use a 3rd lemon.
- Separate the whites from the egg yolks and put the yolks into a blender. The whites can be used for a different recipe like an egg-white omelet, or for making a meringue.
- Blend the egg yolks with the lemon juice for about 2 minutes until the mixture is foamy and frothy.
- Take 2 ladles full of the hot broth and slowly pour into the blender, while blending to temper the eggs. Don't add all at once - stream it into the whirling blender so you don't scramble the eggs. Add the 2nd ladle full - about 1 cup total to the broth. The egg-lemon sauce should be foamy and frothy and ready to be added to the soup.
- Turn the heat off the stove.
- Slowly pour the egg-lemon mixture into the pot, stirring slowly.
- Cover the pot and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
- Serve with fresh cracked pepper.
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