Here’s the recipe for Zakynthian style egg and lemon soup as requested from some of our members. Based on feeding 4-8 people (you definitely want seconds with this dish!)
1 Chicken, preferably a free ranged hen that has been corn feed as this makes the best stock.
4/5 eggs or more according to the people you are feeding.
4/5 large lemons(juice only needed) add more according to taste
salt and pepper (optional)
Zakynthian local cheese (optional) for sprinkling over once served.
Basically you want to make a good chicken broth and there is no other way to do this but get yourself a free ranged hen preferably a little aged and of course free ranged eggs preferably eggs where the chickens have been fed corn, as the yolks and the broth from free range give the end result that special yellow lemon colour.
Now don’t laugh but they do say here in Greece that it’s the old chooks that have all the juice!
Okay, now that you have got your hen, boil it up in plenty of water, don’t forget we are making soup, so keep the water plenty and boil until the meat is tender nearly falling off the bone. optional:-some do put carrot and celery for a bit of taste or just add chicken stock, this, I personally have found is quite tasty if you use a chicken bought from the supermarket, however if using the free range hen there is no need to add anything.
While the hen is boiling, squeeze about 4 lemons depending on how much you like your soup lemony, I use quite a lot 5/6 when squeezed, I even add some lemon juice to the broth before I add the rice.. Keep the juice of at least four lemons aside then prepare the egg mix.
Now here you have to be very careful not to break the yolks. You will need 4/5 eggs. Separate the egg whites and yolks, you will be working with the egg whites first. Beat them up using your mixer on high speed until fluffy until you get a white peak formation, keep aside. Back to the soup now…. So, your wonderful hen is ready to take out of the water, I usually put it in the oven adding salt and pepper just to brown it off.
Now you’re left with the broth it’s time to add the rice about 500g of rice for soups, in Zakynthos it’s the red packet with the words (για σουπες) once added to your broth wait for the rice to cook stirring occasionally so that it won’t stick to the bottom of the pot. You may want to add a little lemon to the broth now, again optional. So once your rice is cooked leave it to the side with the lid on the pot to thicken up, to absorb the broth, I prefer mine thick but not too thick that it comes out like a pudding or too runny that it slurps on your plate, but again it’s up to you.
Now back to your egg whites, using your mixer on high speed add little by little the lemon juice you have squeezed to the whites little by little it is important otherwise your eggs ain’t gonna be like they should, white and fluffy, once you have used up all your lemon juice it’s time to add the egg yolks keep you mixer going and add one by one the egg yolks.
With free range eggs I usually put in about 4 and it does the trick a beautiful yellow/orange colour but unfortunately even supermarket corn feed eggs they just don’t seem to get the colour and you will find your soup not so lemon looking as a result. Never mind, the taste is about the same so don’t be discouraged if this is the case. Now that you have your egg mix ready it’s time to pour is very slowly to your rice soup mix… this is the crucial part and the most tricky. Add the egg mixture very slowly and making sure you stir your soup continually while adding bit by bit the egg n lemon mixture. In Zakynthos you will often here the cooks making a kissing sound as they do this so as not to jinx the outcome.
Slow and steady is the key here continually stirring , once you have finally used up all the mixture into your soup then it is ready for serving, most will add a hard cheese sprinkled on top of the soup, I put heaps but again that is optional.
Please note there are lots of other variations to adding the egg n lemon mix but I have mentioned how I do it, am welcoming anyone else to add their know how to help our members.
Photos:- Public domain