My only tentative resolution for 2009 was to pick a different cookbook each week or month to work thru…. starting next month maybe 😉 So much for resolutions!! Even when the sun is shining I may crave soup, and in decent health or with sniffles, I do live on Avgolemono year round. Earlier this year, I sent out a recipe for a lemon artichoke soup that involved cream and a fine sieve, but it was too refined for everyday, and sometimes I just really want my comfort soup now. This lighter Artichoke Avgolemono works for weeknight supper or for a quick lunch.

Although a more authentic variation could be made using scratch stock, taking more time, this simple soup is relatively virtuous. The artichoke gives a nice texture, and you could add shredded chicken if you wish.

  • 1 12 oz. package frozen artichoke hearts (Trader Joe’s bag), partially thawed in microwave, chopped medium fine
1½ Tablespoons virgin olive oil
½ cup orzo (seed pasta)
1 shallot, chopped
  • ~1 cup hot water or stock
4-5 cups *chicken stock (Better than Bouillon works well), heated
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
1-2 Tablespoons cornstarch
juice of one medium Meyer lemon (less if using Eureka or Lisbon)
  • ½ teaspoon dry Greek oregano
white pepper to taste
  • sea salt & fresh ground pepper to garnish

On medium-low burner, heat olive oil in medium size soup pot, saute shallot until just browning. Add chopped artichokes, stir to heat thru and then add approx. 1 cup hot water or stock to cover, put lid on pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add chicken stock when it returns to simmer. Add orzo and cook covered for 15 minutes or until seed pasta is al dente.

Meanwhile, in a glass measuring cup (2 cup size works well) stir cornstarch and lemon juice until all lumps are gone, then add eggs and beat until all is blended smooth.

When pasta is done, taste stock and add salt and white pepper to taste, remove pan from heat and turn burner to low or add a diffuser. Carefully ladle small amounts of the clear stock into the measuring cup with egg-lemon mixture and stir continuously with a fork or small whisk the whole time until you have about a cup-and-a-half of tempered, heated egg mixture. Stirring the soup continuously, introduce the egg mixture to the pot a ladle at a time while stirring. Put back on burner, stir in oregano and cook covered for another 3-5 minutes.
Adjust seasoning. Serve with fresh baguette and a garnish of coarse sea salt.

serves 4 – 6

*a good substitution would be Rapunzel Vegetarian Bouillon

feeling-under-the-weather shortcut: while not authentic, this works – start with Mrs Grass Chicken Noodle Soup Mix. When noodles are cooked (5 minutes), add egg-lemon-cornstarch using the same method as above, and in another 5 minutes you can tuck in. It is hard to find Mrs. Grass soups, but it is the only one I would use for this. Feel better soon.