From Chef Dimitri: During the fall and winter growing up, my mother would make this once a week. The whole house smelled beautiful from the broth and lemon. Every time I make it, it takes me back.
Avgolemono Soup with Chicken and Kale (serves 8-10)
1 whole chicken, about 3 ½ lbs. with excess fat trimmed and breast skin removed
12 cups water
2 carrots cut in half
2 celery stalks, cut in half
1 large onion, peeled and cut in half
2 bay leaves
5 whole black peppercorns
2 tsp. salt
½ cup orzo pasta, or rice
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. fresh lemon zest
juice of two lemons, strained
1 head Tuscan kale or any kind of kale, roughly chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Add first 8 ingredients to a large stockpot. Bring the water to a rapid boil, lower heat to medium low and simmer partially covered for approximately 60 to 90 minutes.
Remove the chicken and vegetables to a bowl and carefully strain the broth through a fine sieve into a large bowl. Return the strained broth to the stockpot and bring to a boil.
Add the orzo pasta and cook, uncovered for approximately 10 to 12 minutes until tender.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the egg-lemon mixture. Using a whisk beat the eggs until nice and frothy. Add the lemon zest and the lemon juice in a steady stream while continuing to whisk.
When the pasta has finished cooking, add the kale and turn off the heat. Ladle about 2 cups of broth into a bowl or large measuring cup. Slowly add the hot broth to the egg-lemon mixture while continuing to whisk. This will temper the eggs and prevent them from curdling once they are added to the hot broth.
Stir the egg-lemon mixture into the pot and heat over very low heat for approximately 5 to 10 minutes until heated through. Be careful not to boil the soup once the eggs have been added.
Adjust your seasoning for salt and pepper and add more as desired.
Traditionally the soup is served in bowls with the chicken, celery, onions and carrots on a separate platter.