I wish I could say that I have spent significant time in Greece island hopping and exploring, but truth be told, my one and only trip there was limited to Corfu. A tumble down steep stone stairs with dim lighting, after too many shots of Ouzo combined with stilettos and a toga, the next morning my ankle was swollen to twice its normal size, and I kissed dreams of partying in Santorini and Mykonos goodbye. Lucky for me I was traveling with a group of my close girlfriends from The University of Maryland who loved me enough to roll their eyes at my swollen ankle and stay with me.
There. On Corfu. For one long-ass, tipsy, toga wearing week at “The Pink Palace.”
To this day it is one of my favorite weeks I’ve ever spent.
The happiest of accidents.
Luckily, it was just a sprain and the doctors orders were to “Stay off of it as much as possible and float in the sea.”( At least I think that’s how it translated into English Hee Hee Hee)
The hotel moved our room to sea level and every morning my girlfriends (and our guy friends from UPenn) would drag my bikini clad, mahogany tanned body to a lounge chair. And I only moved to dip, and to eat. And boy did we eat.
We were twenty, budgeted, and backpacking. I’m not saying we ate well. We didn’t dine. But we knew good food and we found it right there. Every single day on that hot, sexy, sun drenched beach, we ate like kings. Kings in string bikinis.
Homemade Greek fries hot, salty and crispy dipped in cool and creamy Tzatziki (never ketchup), we drank ice cold Greek diet cokes which for some reason were the best I’ve ever tasted, and at night I had Greek Lemon Chicken Soup called Avgolemono. A silky, rich egg based soup that was cheap, filling; yet didn’t sit on my thighs, hips, or ass. My body had never been more toned or tanned and I had never eaten better.
Corona. Covid 19. Bazz doesn’t feel so hot (side note: he’s fine).
I have lemon, I have garlic, I have a chicken and I have memories of Greece. Memories of warm beaches and skinny dipping at night with boys from UPenn in the warm Ionian Sea as we floated with baby octopuses.
I may be short on eggs here in quaranBEEn, but I’m certainly not short on memories, and I can cook.
Oh yes, I can cook…
My BEEg Fat Greek Chicken Soup
- Large Heavy Bottomed Soup Pot (my favorite of all time is linked below)
- Fine Sieve For straining soup if you like as I did
- Olive Oil
- 1 3-4 lbs Whole Uncooked Organic Free Range Chicken (Bag inside of chicken of organ meats removed)
- 1 large Yellow Onion, chopped finely
- 5 Cloves of Garlic, smashed
- 1 large Lemon
- 1 container Organic Chicken Broth
- 4-6 cups Cold Filtered Water
- Kosher Salt
- Feta Cheese or Parmesan Rinds and Grated Parmesan (do not use feta and parmesan; choose one)
- Good Dry White Wine for Cooking and Drinking
- Orzo Pasta cooked separately for adding to soup before serving
- Heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil gently in Le Creuset soup pot over low flame and add chopped onion sautéing until translucent.
- Add smashed garlic cloves gently stirring.
- Zest entire lemon and add lemon zest to onion and garlic mixture continuing to stir.
- Add a few glugs of white wine and pour yourself a glass while you’re at it.
- Allow alcohol to cook off, raising the heat and allowing to simmer for a few minutes. Squeeze ½ lemon, being careful not to squeeze seeds in as well.
- Add large parmesan rind now if you’re using parmesan over feta.
- Add container of chicken broth and bring up to a gentle boil.
- Season with salt and add whole chicken.
- Add enough cold filtered water to just cover chicken.
- Bring back up to a gentle boil and allow to simmer covered for as little as one hour and as long as three.
- Remove chicken from soup and place on cutting board.
- Remove skin and cut chicken off of bones placing meat on a separate plate as you go.
- Discard carcass and bones.
- Strain soup over sink from pot through your fine sieve into another clean pot.
- This step is not necessary, but it allows for the fat to be skimmed off of the top of the soup and creates a really “clean” flavorful chicken soup rather than a cloudier broth.
- Place strained soup back on stove, bring back up to a simmer, squeeze remaining lemon into pot adding your cooked chicken back into pot.
- Add feta if you’re using that and allow to simmer for another few minutes until heated through.
- Cook Orzo pasta separately and serve in individual bowls ladling soup on top.
- Serve hot and slurp with pleasure.
All illustrations by @courtneycoloring