This hearty Greek lemon chicken soup is full of orzo, shredded chicken, and kale, and comes together in only 30 minutes. An easy, creamy avgolemono soup recipe! Perfect for a quick and easy main course meal in the winter!
Before I jump into the amazingly creamy, comforting lemon chicken soup I made last weekend, I just have to say…
I know many, if not most of you will laugh when I say that, since I live in South Carolina and we juuuuust dipped below freezing, but you have to understand how cold natured this Southern girl is.
I run two space heaters under my desk at work daily. I have an electric blanket on my bed from October until May. I actually selected my college, in Arizona, based on latitude first, and then academics. And it was 25 degrees last night and gosh darn it, I’m cold, even if “it” isn’t.
And when I’m cold I need something nice and toasty for lunch to warm me up! Preferably hearty, filling, and quick to make, so I can get back to huddling under a throw blanket in my fuzzy slippers.
So I think this easy lemon chicken soup with orzo and kale has a definite future as a staple in my house. It’s actually a Greek avgolemono soup, which means “egg-lemon” soup. Now, rather than being like a Mediterranean egg drop soup, the egg serves as a thickener, like it would in a custard. The result is a thick and creamy soup with a silky texture, richer than a brothy soup and lighter than a soup with actual cream.
It’s chock full of chicken and orzo, so it’s husband-approved as a main dish, and the kale, while not traditional in an avgolemono soup, adds a nice toothiness and freshness to the soup. It’s warm and comforting, tangy and flavorful, and full of Stuff.
Besides being super delicious, this soup has many other attractive qualities as well:
- It’s totally easy.
- It only takes 30 minutes to make.
- If you have shredded chicken on hand, you don’t have to prep any ingredients, and there’s only one pot to wash.
- It’s healthy without being just another thin, brothy soup. Plus, kale.
- It’s so hearty it can be a full meal by itself.
If you don’t have shredded chicken on hand, you can use this recipe from Mel’s Kitchen, but I use chicken thighs instead of breasts. I shred it by whirling it around on low for about a minute in my KitchenAid mixer with the paddle attachment, and then I add some of the liquid back in to keep it juicy. It’s soooo delicious. Definitely worth making in a large batch and keeping on hand for recipes like this soup, or this chicken salad.
I got to make this avgolemono soup this weekend for my friend and maid of honor Alex who was in town.
Making it really couldn’t be easier, so I didn’t have to spend a hundred years in the kitchen cooking instead of hanging out with her.
You just heat up a bunch of chicken broth and lemon juice, add in some orzo, and wait for it to cook a little. You thicken it with eggs, add in the chicken and kale, and serve it.
Really, that’s it.
The only trick to it is that before you add in the eggs, you have to temper them first.
That means that after you beat them (poor eggs), you first have to slowly whisk some hot liquid into the eggs before you whisk the eggs into the hot liquid, just like you’d do with a custard. This helps bring the eggs up to temperature before you dump them in the soup so they aren’t shocked by the heat and scrambled. That would be egg drop soup. And then don’t boil the soup post-eggs — keep it just below simmering, enough to heat up the chicken and wilt the kale, and then serve it. It’s really that simple.
And after eating a nice steaming bowl of Greek lemon chicken soup, you may not even need your throw blanket and fuzzy slippers any more.
What are you waiting for? This soup is just what you need this winter to warm up and stay cozy!
Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo and Kale
- 10 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice from 2 lemons
- 1 cup uncooked orzo noodles
- 2 eggs beaten
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 8 cups fresh kale torn into medium pieces with tough stems removed
- In a large pot, heat up chicken broth to a simmer.
- Add lemon juice and orzo noodles. Simmer for 10 minutes or until pasta is mostly cooked. Reduce heat to medium low.
- Beat two eggs until smooth in a medium bowl that has some extra room for adding liquid. Remove about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of hot broth from the soup and slowly pour it into the eggs, whisking constantly.
- Pour egg mixture back into the soup, stirring constantly. If any pieces of egg form "egg drops" like in egg drop soup, remove these. Cook for about two minutes on medium low to medium until broth is nice and thick.
- Add in shredded chicken, pepper, and kale, one handful a time. Stir until kale is wilted. Serve immediately.
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