Our laptop sits on a table that, if it could talk, could make me blush. This table is next to an antique buffet with an inlaid mirror. On the surface of the buffet, against most of that mirror, is our cookbook collection. From where I sit at this silent table laden with memories, I can see myself in the bit of mirror that isn’t covered by the cookbooks, and I like what I see.
As I’ve gotten older my hair has changed. The dull mousy dirty blond that I used to enhance with expensive highlights, has become a shimmery pewter with ever increasing streaks of pure silver. It is still as long as it always was and it is soft and silky and falling just the right way.
I have a lot to be grateful for; I have become a multi-skilled and multi-lingual globe trotting fandango. I have friends all over the world who I am proud to be connected with, and done pretty amazing stuff with some of them. It’s a great feeling to know that to so many places I could travel to, there are people looking forward to seeing me again as much as I am them. My child is beautiful and talented, and I am forever grateful that Mr. Fabelhaft and I love each other since High School.
I was sick recently with a horrible nasty cold, but as you can all see I am well again, singing the tunes of happy livin’ infected by the spirit of this next week of Thanksgiving. I am ever so grateful for my life, my loves, my family, my hair, and possessing the knowledge of making delicious soup (figuratively, theoretically, and practically), out of the simplest ingredients . I learned much of that from my mom, a warrior maiden with even more silvery hair than myself.
Soothing Avgolemono (Egg Lemon) Chicken Soup
(You’re going to love this either before or after big Holiday meals.)
1 whole chicken OR what’s left of a roasted chicken, or other fowl (like turkey?!), plus some of the left over meat
3 large carrots
3 celery stalks, OR 1/2 lb (1/4 kilo) celery root, OR two handfuls of celery leaves
1 garlic toe
1/2 cup of round grain rice (the kind you use for risotto or rice pudding)
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon of flour (or corn flour)
fresh chopped dill or parsley (optional)
Place the chicken (or bones & stuff), onion, garlic, celery, and carrots into a large pot. Cover with water no more than 1/2 inch (2 cm). Bring to a rolling boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer until the chicken starts to fall apart (about 1.5- 2 hours).
Place a colander, or large sieve, over another pot and carefully pour chicken, vegetables and stock into the sieve. Let the stock drain into the other pot.
When chicken is cool enough to comfortably touch, carefully empty the colander or sieve it on to a large cutting board or platter.
Place the stock in the pot over a flame and bring to a boil. Add rice, salt, and pepper, stir, then lower the heat bring the soup to a low simmer. Cover and stir from time to time.
Gently separate the cooked chicken meat from the bones and gristle, and place the meat on a plate. Place the cooked vegetables on another plate.
Run a knife through the boiled vegetables to cut them into small pieces (this will be easy since they will have almost disintegrated in the stock) and add them to the simmering soup.
Tear 1/3 of the cooked chicken meat into shreds and add to the soup. Pack the rest in the freezer to use at a later date for chicken salad, or a chicken pastry, or whatever else you would like to add some cooked chicken to.
When the rice is cooked, turn off the heat under the soup.
In a bowl, whisk the eggs, the lemon juice, and the cornstarch or flour until well blended and there are no lumps.
While whisking with one hand, slowly ladle (drizzling!) the hot broth into the egg/lemon mix as slowly as possible, whisking all the while. You want the soup to bind into the egg/lemon mix without curdling it. Slowly add another ladle full of broth while whisking. Add a third and fourth ladle.
Finally, pour all the contents of the bowl back into the soup pot and turn on the heat again to bring the soup to a simmer once more. It should thicken a bit at that point. Leave to simmer for one minute, then turn it off again.
If the soup is too thick, add a bit of water and season accordingly.
Garnish with freshly chopped herbs and serve with bread.