I’m not much of a cook.
Like most people in the city, I enjoy good food and eat out at restaurants more often than I should. But let’s face it: we have some of the best chefs in the world in our backyard, home-cooked food just doesn’t cut it.
With all this restaurant-going, the bills add up. It’s about time I learned how to cook properly, and I’m bringing you all on this ride along with me.
Each week, I’ll be borrowing a restaurant-style recipe from an acclaimed chef in New York City and conjuring up my own version of his or her creation. It won’t be perfect — and I’ll venture to guess sometimes the results will be disastrous — but I’ll be chronicling it here for you all the same.
Here’s how it went this week…
From “This Is A Cookbook, Recipes For Real Life” by Max And Eli Sussman
- 10 cups (80 fl oz/2.5 l) good-quality, low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 whole chicken preferably organic about 3 lb (1.5 kg)
- 1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 oz/330 g) white rice
- 4 large egg yolks
- Juice of 3 lemons
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)
1. Pour the broth into a soup pot. Add a chicken. Cover partially and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Uncover and use a large spoon to skim off any foam or fat that has risen to the surface. Replace the lid and simmer for 30 minutes longer. Uncover and skim the soup again, the remove from the heat. Using tongs and the large spoon or a large fork, carefully remove the chicken from the broth and place on a platter. Let cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, pull the meat from the bones. Discard the bones and skin and set the meat aside.
2. Meanwhile, add the rice to the soup pot and return to a simmer over low heat. Cook until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Return the chicken meat to the soup and remove from the heat. In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks until well blended. Using a ladle, scoop some of the soup broth into the bowl of yolks, about 1/2 cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) at a time, stirring thoroughly after each addition, until you’ve added about 2 cups (16 fl oz/500 ml) broth total. The egg-broth mixture should be hot to the touch. Gradually adding the hot broth prevents the eggs from curdling.
3. Pour the egg-broth mixture back into the pot and stir well. Do not turn on the heat. Stir in the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle the soup into individual bowls, garnish with parsley, if you like and serve right away.
Note: If the soup cools and you need to reheat it, be sure you reheat gently over low heat. Don’t let the soup come to a boil, or the eggs may curdle.
This seemed like a fairly simple recipe that didn’t require any extra shopping. I had chicken bouillon in the cupboards so I made due with that for the chicken broth. And instead of buying a whole chicken and deboning it, I settled with the boneless chicken breasts in my freezer.
One whole chicken and ten cups of chicken broth was going to be way too much, so I reduced the portions for everything. The result: three cups of chicken broth, one chicken breast, one cup of white rice, two egg yolks, a half of a really large lemon.
….Okay, so I’m not the best at portioning.
Directions were fairly simple to follow. I decided to separate my egg yolks using a nifty trick I learned from a DIY video — via a empty water bottle. The first egg was easy enough. The second one? Not so much. The water bottle just didn’t have enough suctioning power the second time around. It still worked though. The mixture was about 95% yolk. Close enough.
Overall, the recipe turned out well. I could have used more chicken broth because the rice ended up soaking up all the liquid and I was left with a porridge-like consistency after a while. Though my version of avgolemono was not so pretty (not even remotely like the images in the cookbook), it was delicious.
Would you try this at home? Let me know how it turns out!