Thursday, December 23, 2010

Soup-A-Palooza Dos

I promised yesterday to blog about Soup-a-Palooza, so here I am :-) I had held one a month or so ago with my friends--basically, I made a bunch of soups (Oven Baked Beef Stew, Spicy Thai Soup, Mexican Chicken Tortilla and French Onion) and invited over my friends, telling them to bring something to go with soup. The party was a hit--lots of different types of soups to fit each person's tastes (a beef, a chicken, an Asian and a vegetarian style), and it was fun to have something so earthy for a party.

My daughter, whose friends I normally invite to my theme nights (and had forgotten to invite to this one) asked if I'd do the same thing for her friends. Dubbed Soup-a-Palooza Dos, I let my daughter dictate the menu, and let her create the guest list. Lots of teenage girls made for lots of laughter and chatter, so it was a blast. One of them brought rolls, another made this yummy dessert Christmas bread that we baked while we were eating. I made the soups and the Macadamia Nut Yummies.

I served three soups: Chicken and Dumpling, which I've put on the blog before, Tomato Tortellini, also a previous blog appearer, and a new one--Lemon Chicken Rice (a Greek soup, aka Avgolemono). My dear friend Tori Carrington (a husband-wife writing duo) makes this all the time and said that I had to make a long kissing sound while adding the egg mixture to the soup or it would be ruined (I love those kinds of quirky customs). Since the soup was a hit (two of the girls took home leftovers), I think the kissing noise paid off ;-)

Before I made the two chicken based soups, I made a Simple Chicken Stock:

1 whole chicken
1 onion, peeled and halved
1 full head of garlic, halved
4-6 sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4-6 black peppercorns

Put chicken in a stockpot or dutch oven. Add other ingredients. Add enough water to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for one hour. Remove the chicken and shred the meat. Strain the stock and use in soups or freeze to use later.

Trust me, it makes a HUGE difference to use homemade stock. And it seasoned the chicken nicely, so it tasted perfect in the chicken and dumpling soup and the Lemon Chicken Rice Soup. It only takes a minute to put a stock together, and just a little over an hour to cook. Do it a couple days before if you want. I've even made it in the Crock-Pot (turning the CP to High).

Easy Avgolemono Soup (Greek Lemon Chicken Rice Soup)

6 cups chicken broth (reserve extra for later; the rice expands and I added a cup of stock at the end)
1 cup long grain rice
2 eggs
Juice of 1/2 of a lemon (reserve other half to add more lemon juice if you need it)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley

Bring stock to a boil, add rice, then reduce to a simmer and cook about 20 minutes, until rice is tender. Add the chicken, then make the egg mixture (it will thicken the soup and give it a nice, creamy texture).

Separate the eggs. Whisk the whites until they're frothy, then add in the yolks and the lemon juice. Add one cup of hot cooking liquid, whisk, then add another cup. Pour egg mixture into the soup (making that kissing sound if you want). Season with salt and pepper, add parsley. Serve.



  1. Daughters sound fun, I have boys and they are all about pizza. I've discovered frozen loaves of unbaked bread make good pizza crusts. And the guys like meat pizzas, if they like veggies they aren't admitting it in front of each other. Ha!

  2. Heather W1:24 PM

    I've been contemplating having some sort of soup party for a few years now, actually. (I don't entertain nearly as often as you do!) But I wanted to find a way to host a soup exchange ... where everyone brought their favorite soup and people could sample/exchange left overs since most soup recipes make so much. I really wish I had more space at my table/kitchen as I think I'd really enjoy doing this!

  3. LOL, Jackie! My son's friends love pizza too. I'd love to make my own, but bread is not my forte.

    Heather--I think small or big, a party with friends is always fun. When we lived in a smaller house, we tended to just spread out for eating or use those cheap plastic lawn chairs in the kitchen with some folding tables. IMO, it's the company, not the space that makes a party fun :-)

  4. Anonymous1:21 AM

    Been there with the daughters,Shirley. My twin girls are 30 now...memories. My son is 33 so I've been there, also. I'm going to have to try that pizza crust from the frozen bread dough Jackie mentioned. That Lemon Greek chicken soup sounds delish...I may have to try it, also. I wonder about the rice, though. Do you use the regular rice we use down here in the south, or something like Uncle Ben's quick cooking rice? Just wondering. And you are so right about chicken stock...easy and so much better than Swanson's...yuk.

    I cooked a huge pot of homemade vegetable beef soup today with everything but the kitchen sink in it. So good on a cold day. Can't leave the recipe today. I'm way late getting to bed. Have to drive to New Orleans in the morning to see YOU at the SOLA RWA. :)

  5. Shirley, its Lissa from WHRHS, I live in Atlanta now and there is a Greek diner here that offers soup with their daily specials. My son and I love the lemon chicken soup and I'm looking forward to trying your recipe at home but one change I'll make based on the restaurant version is to use orzo instead of rice. Now, after a couponing seminar today I just have to wait for whole chickens to go on sale!

  6. Hi Lissa!! Great to see you here!

    I'll probably try it with orzo again sometime. My kids haven't been wild about orzo the couple times I've used it, but I'm a perpetual optimist ;-)


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