I do a lot of the cooking in my family, which is something I enjoy most of the time. After a day of wrangling contentious characters and problematic plots, it's almost a relief to go into the kitchen and start handling tangible things like ingredients and utensils. And to know that, within a relatively brief interval, there will be a finished project to show for my work.
Sometimes, I like to mess around, trying out a new recipe or tweaking an old one. Or cooking something complicated that requires my full concentration and tests my culinary skills, such as they are. At other times--when I'm on deadline or have multiple projects vying for my attention--I turn to dishes that are so easy and straightforward that I could prepare them in my sleep . . . and I'm not sure I haven't done just that, on occasion!
Avgolemono soup is one of my "go-to" recipes. I first tasted it at a small family-owned Greek restaurant--sadly defunct now--that opened in the university town where I was attending graduate school. And I loved it--tangy, velvety, rich without being cloying. Greek comfort food at its finest, and welcome in any season: hearty enough in winter, light enough in summer.
I researched countless avgolemono soup recipes, trying to find one as much like the first one I tasted as possible. This one, which I found years ago on Epicurious, comes the closest, and it is as simple as it is delicious, taking half-an-hour at most to prepare. And it never lasts long when I serve it!
AVGOLEMONO SOUP WITH ORZO
4 1/3 c. chicken stock (or broth)
1/2 c. orzo (cooked rice may be substituted, but I think orzo is tastier)
2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk (I usually find two eggs sufficient--the yolk is for extra richness)
1/4 - 1/3 c. fresh-squeezed lemon juice (strained of seeds and pulp)
1/2 c. chopped cooked chicken
Salt, pepper to taste
Boil stock, add orzo, cook until tender.
Beat eggs, yolk, and lemon juice together. Add 1 cup of hot stock to egg mixture, stirring constantly.
Pour lemon and stock mixture back into pot, do not simmer. Add chicken, stirred until warmed through.
Season to taste, and serve hot. I like warm pita bread and hummus as accompaniments.
Bon appetit! Or should I say, Opa!
Do you have any "go-to" recipes that you can prepare on autopilot?