I love soup!!! Especially Greek ones.. Unfortunately they aren't that well known amongst my Aussie friends. Time to change that I think!
My favourite soups are all finished with avgolemono. Greek chicken soup, giouvarlakia and my all time favourite magiritsa to name a few.
Avgolemono is a mix of eggs (avgo) and lemons (lemonia) which is used in soups as a thickener and to add a sour note. The addition of the sour taste to dishes has been adored in our cooking for millenia. I read somewhere that avgolemono was first created and widely used during the Byzantine era. Another article says that the sauce was introduced by the Shepardic Jews. Who knows???
It is said that lemons where introduced to Greece and the rest of the Mediterranean by the Arabs who brought them from Persia around the 11th century. They soon replaced vinegar and the juices of unripe grapes, pomegranates, and all kinds of tart fruits that had been used to provide acidity to both sweet and savory dishes ever since antiquity. I remember my grandmother adding sour plums to the pot when cooking dolmathakia instead of lemons. Delicious! Any way I digress…. Here is the recipe!
500 g minced beef
1 onion grated
½ cup medium grain rice
½ cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 cup flour
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1.5 litres water
1 lemon, juiced
1 tsp corn flour mixed with ¼ cup cold water
Place beef, onion, 1 egg, rice, parsley, ½-1 tbs salt and pepper in a large bowl. Knead mixture until smooth. Using damp hands, form mixture into approximately 30 meatballs.place on a large floured tray. Dust the balls in the flour and drop carefully in the pot of boiling water.
Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 40 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through. Remove pan from heat.
Whisk remaining 2 eggs and lemon juice in a bowl. Add the cornflour mix. Slowly add a ladle of the hot stock and whisk vigorously until combined. Repeat this step another 3-5 times. Stir egg and lemon mixture back into saucepan of remaining soup, return pan over medium heat and cook for a further 3 minutes or until heated through; do not allow soup to boil. Add more salt or lemon at this stage.