One of our neighbors recently commented that we are the cultural mutts of the community and that we seem to have the most fun with all our ethnicities. Although I married a full-blooded Polish man, I have at least a dozen countries of origin in my blood. Along with heritage comes tradition, and we love to sample them all.
Technically, I don’t have any Greek in my bloodlines, but we do have a strong Greek influence. My aunt married a man who was 100% Greek and growing up, our families spent a lot of time together. My Greek uncle’s mother, Grandma Nikki (Nicoleta) had a beautiful strong accent, a round tummy, and the sunniest attitude around. She passed away a few years ago, but not before making a lasting impact on my taste buds.
Grandma Nikki introduced me to Dolmades, which are grape leaves stuffed with rice, pine nuts, dill, mint, and lemon, as well as moussaka, which is sort of like an eggplant and potato lasagna. My very favorite Greek dish is a refreshing soup called Avgolemono (Avgo for short). During these cold winter days, it’s my absolute favorite comfort food. Some people make it with rice, others with orzo.
- 6 Cups Chicken Stock
- 1-2 Cups Cooked Orzo (cooked for 7-9 minutes, then drained)
- 1 Lb. Skinless Chicken Breast, cooked, shredded or diced
- ½ t. Lemon Zest
- Juice from one Lemon
- 4 Egg Yolks
- Fresh Parsley for garnish
- Dash Nutmeg for garnish
- In a 5-quart pot, combine the chicken stock and orzo, then bring it to a simmer.
- Add the shredded chicken breast and lemon zest.
- Let this cook 5-8 minutes.
- Beat the egg yolks in a bowl.
- Whisking constantly, add the lemon juice to the yolks.
- You will need to temper the yolks before you add the egg-lemon mixture to the soup. It takes both hands to do this, so with one hand, whisk the egg-lemon mixture vigorously. With the other hand, slowly pour in a ladle of hot broth while you whisk.
- Turn the heat off the soup.
- Whisk the soup with one hand while you pour the hot egg-lemon mixture in with the other.
- Serve at once, garnished with parsley and a sprinkle of nutmeg.