Friday, October 7, 2016

Avgolemeno recipe (Greek-style chicken & lemon soup) with foraged purslane. Gluten-free, low-carb, paleo

A quick jaunt around the neighborhood yielded quite a basket full of purslane, and some wood sorrel. Both plants contain oxalic acid, with a bright, lemony flavor. I decided to try adding the weeds to a Greek Avgolemeno, a chicken soup with lemon, eggs and fresh veggies.

Given that purslane also has a mucilaginous (thickening) quality, I decided to bypass the rice that's usually added to the soup, and make it 100% gluten-free and paleo. It was a great lunch, and I have plenty to bring to work for healthy lunches throughout the week!

This recipe is quite easy, and while it takes some time to come together, most of that time isn't really hands-on, you can be doing other things.

Avgolemeno with purslane

Serves 4-5 as a main-course, 6-8 as a starter

1 extra-large split chicken breast, on the bone, with skin
4 cups of purslane, roughly chopped
2 medium leeks
2 large carrots
8 large lemons, or 3/4 cup lemon juice
5 large eggs
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. dried thyme (or 1 tsp. fresh)
1/2 tsp. dried basil (or 1 tsp. fresh)
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Butter or oil, your choice (I used some of my wood sorrel compound butter)
Extra lemons and wood sorrel to garnish, optional

  1. Place your chicken in a very large stockpot, skin side up. Add 10 cups of water, 2 bay leaves, thyme and basil. Cover and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to a simmer and flip your chicken breast so the skin is submerged. Continue to simmer, covered, till the chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes.
  3. While the chicken is simmering, prep your veggies. Bisect your leeks vertically in half, then cut into chunks, about 1 inch wide. Rinse them all throughly, breaking them apart with your hands. Leeks tend to get a lot of dirt in-between the layers. Peel and slice your carrots into bite-sized pieces. Roughly chop the purslane.
  4. If you're using fresh lemons, juice them, till you have 3/4 cup of lemon juice. 
  5. After the chicken has simmered for 40 mins or so, remove it from the broth and set aside to cool. Pour your broth into another bowl, and remove the bay leaves. 
  6. Add butter or oil to your pan and heat over medium. Add your carrot slices and stir gently. Cook over medium heat till your carrots are about half-way done. 
  7. Add in the leeks and purslane, stir to coat everything with oil/butter and cook for another 5 minutes or so. 
  8. Pour your stock over the veggies, and increase temperature to high. Bring to a boil.
  9. While the soup is coming to a boil, crack your eggs into your lemon juice, and whisk. Add freshly ground black pepper. 
  10. Slowly whisk in 2 ladle-fulls of the hot stock into your egg/lemon mixture. 
  11. When the stock has come to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and slowly pour in your lemon/egg mixture. Cook for 10 minutes or so.
  12. Break the chicken off the bone and cut into bite-sized pieces. You can remove the skin if you want to save calories and fat. 
  13. Divide your chicken among the serving bowls. Ladle the soup over the chicken, garnish with lemon slices and sprinkle with wood sorrel (optional) and serve immediately. 
A note if you are making this to have leftovers: don't put the chicken in the soup until you are ready to heat and eat. Chicken stored in broth gets strangely dried out and looses flavor. 

Recipe adapted from


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