This is a particular favorite of mine that my mom used to make on occasion, and if I remember right, I think my grandfather used to make this one a lot. E was having a bout of an upset stomach and, not knowing what to make to help him (we've already made classic chicken noodle), I whipped out my homemade cookbook my mom gave me at my bridal shower. It's a collection of recipes from our family's kitchen, and totally deserves it's own blog post. So I flipped through the pages and stumbled upon this recipe and decided to give it a try!
What you will need:
2 chicken breasts, uncooked
4-5 cloves of garlic, whole
1 cup of orzo pasta
6 egg yolks
juice from 3 lemons
How to make it:
Place your two uncooked chicken breasts in a medium to large soup pot. Fill with about 2 quarts of water. Add in some salt and pepper, and throw in your garlic. Bring this broth to a boil until the chicken is cooked through. Turn the flame off, pull out your chicken and set aside. Strain your broth to remove the cloves of garlic and any excess fat or small chicken pieces.
Put your broth back on the stove and bring to a boil. Add in the cup of orzo and allow it to cook until tender (about 10 minutes). At this time you can add more salt and pepper to your broth to taste (now that the chicken is cooked and your broth is safe to taste!).
On the side, chop up your chicken into bite sized pieces and add them into the soup while your orzo cooks. In a small bowl beat your egg yolks and lemon juice together until blended.
When your orzo is tender and the chicken is hot again, remove one cup of hot broth and slowly add it to the beaten egg mixture, pouring slowly and mixing continuously to keep it from curdling.
Turn the flame under the soup off and add another cup of broth to the egg and lemon mixture, using the same technique as above. You want to slowly warm up the egg so it doesn't curdle and leave you with egg-drop soup, but a nice. thickened broth. Now add the egg/lemon/broth mixture into the soup pot, stirring constantly to thicken. Top with some dried mint to taste and serve immediately.
Success! Actually I think this is one of my favorite soups yet (although I feel like I say that all the time!). I love the subtlety of the lemon flavor mixed in with the chicken, and the orzo just gives it a little softness. E liked it too and I'd like to think it helped settle his stomach. ;)
What we would do differently:
The addition of the dried mint was E's idea. He liked the flavor of the soup on first taste but it was just lemony-chicken-y tasting. Something was missing. So out came the mint and the taste just popped after that. One thing too is that half way through cooking, once I took the chicken out of the pot, I noticed how much broth was in my pot, and had a small panic attack about whether there should be more broth or not. I ended up adding in some pre-made broth to make the soup stretch some more, but in retrospect, I don't think it needed it. I think I ended up thinning it out a bit too much, making it a brothier soup than a chunkier one. C'est la vie. It was tasty anyway!