On charters aboard our Atlantic 70 cutter, Stressbuster, in the Greek Islands, I try to keep it simple—especially when it comes to onboard meal prep. After breakfast, we set sail; underway, the captain and guests enjoy the sailing while I duck below to start lunch—usually a cooked meal, per Greek tradition. Since food must be ready by the time we drop anchor between islands around midday for swimming and sustenance, prep time needs to be fairly quick and easy to do underway. The fewer pots and pans, the better—ensuring easy cleanup so we can get sailing again after lunch. Thankfully, Greek cuisine seems tailor-made for boats—fresh, local, simple and divine. One of my favorite recipes is avgolemono soup, which gets its name from the creamy broth—an ingenious combination of beaten eggs (avgo) and lemon (lemono). In its simplest form, this traditional soup is made with chicken broth, salt, pepper, rice or orzo pasta, and the last-minute blending of the eggs and lemon juice with the hot broth to make the base. There are many variations of this basic recipe. I’ve tried other versions, but—based on my love of Italian meatball soup—I created this one. It’s filling, but light and lemony enough to be perfect even on a hot August day. It never fails to be a crowd-pleaser!
Greek Avgolemono Soup
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 4-5 green onions
- 1 large carrot, grated (about 1 cup)
- 2 small zucchini, grated (about 2 cups)
- 5 cups chicken broth
- 12 frozen, packaged meatballs**
- 1/2 cup orzo pasta
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
For the avgolemono:
- 2 large eggs, brought to room temperature
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
**or substitute homemade, frozen
Chop green onions. Use the pale bottom parts for the soup; reserve dark-green tops for a garnish. Cut carrot and zucchini in half, then grate lengthwise with a box grater. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Briefly saute veggies. Add chicken broth, meatballs and orzo. Stir, cover pot, and increase heat to medium-high. When liquid comes to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and cook at a healthy simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.
Make avgolemono: Crack eggs into a large (4-cup), heatproof liquid measuring cup or bowl. Add lemon juice. Whisk and set aside. When soup is done, remove from heat and remove cover. Let cool until broth is no longer scalding (at least 5 minutes; test temp with a clean finger). Use a soup ladle to gradually add broth to egg-lemon mix, whisking as you add. When liquid in the pot is almost diminished, slowly pour avgolemono back into the pot, a bit at a time, stirring after each addition. Stir to blend, cover, and let sit for 1 to 2 minutes, or until thickened slightly. Stir in chopped parsley. Garnish individual servings with reserved green onion tops, and serve immediately.
Preparation: At anchor & underway
Time: 35-40 minutes
For perfect, smooth avgolemono, DO NOT add broth that’s too hot to the egg/lemon mixture—it will “cook” the eggs and clump. Use room-temperature eggs to decrease likelihood of clumping. If you reheat leftovers, use low heat and do not simmer!