spinach and lemon soup with orzo

lemon spinach soupI found the recipe for this soup when I was looking for something creative to do with the spinach from our CSA.  Not that I don’t love simple sauteed spinach, but I thought it might be fun to do something different.  When I have an ingredient that I would like to find recipes for, I often search for it on The Kitchn – I’ve found lots of great recipes there!  Thus, this spinach and lemon soup, or spinach avgolemono (a traditional Greek soup) was born.  Given the ingredients this used, I thought it would be an interesting recipe to try.  I wasn’t 100% sure what we would think of it, or if Daren especially would even be willing to try it.  While the concept of tempering eggs isn’t new to me, it’s something I’ve usually done as part of an ice cream recipe – using it in soup was a foreign (no pun intended given the Greek background!) idea to me, if not one that made me just a little wary.  However, we were pleasantly surprised to find that we both really enjoyed this soup!  It’s nice and creamy, and the lemon provides a nice background flavor – it’s not too in your face.  Definitely a great alternative to your more typical soups!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 bunch fresh baby spinach (or 1 bag frozen, thawed and drained of excess water)
  • 1 1/2 cups orzo
  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 4 eggs
  • Juice of 3 lemons
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (to serve)
  • Fresh-grated Parmesan cheese (to serve)

Directions

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven.  Add the onion and cook until softened and slightly translucent, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat to medium high and add the garlic, red pepper flakes, spinach, and orzo. Cook for an additional minute, then stir in the broth.

Bring to a light simmer, then turn the heat down and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the orzo is just tender. Take the soup off the heat and let it cool down for a minute.

While the soup is simmering, crack the eggs into a medium bowl and whisk vigorously.  Whisk in the lemon juice until the mixture is thickened, pale yellow and creamy.  After taking the soup off of the heat, add a small ladleful of the broth to the eggs, whisking constantly.  Stir in two more ladles of soup broth, whisking each well and letting them cool.

Return the egg mixture to the soup pot, stirring constantly.  If needed, return the soup to a very low heat and cook carefully until the soup has thickened slightly. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley and Parmesan if desired.

When I returned my soup to the heat, some of my eggs did curdle a bit.  We didn’t find it to be a big deal, and honestly couldn’t taste the difference in the final product.  When reheating this soup, make sure you do so very slowly, and again stir continuously, to keep the eggs from cooking further.

Yield: 6-8 servings

Source: The Kitchn

 

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