Lemon Chicken & Rice Soup (often called by it’s Greek name of “Avgolemono”), is a huge tradition here in metro Detroit. No trip to a coney island (what you might just call a diner elsewhere in the country, but a bit different) is complete without this thick but light flavored, comforting soup.
The funny thing about this soup is that I didn’t like it the first time I tried it. In fact, I hated it. My husband I were on a date early in our relationship, and he ordered this soup and let me try a bite. I had a very negative reaction, and told him that I didn’t think lemon belonged in savory food. My, how times have changed.
I mean, what’s not to love about Lemon Chicken & Rice Soup? There’s chicken. There’s rice. There’s lemons. That’s basically it. There’s some egg in there, but it’s kind of hidden egg – used just as a thickener. How could I NOT like this soup when the first time tried it? Maybe it had something to do with the fact that we were at a pizza place. Why a pizza place was serving a Greek soup, I don’t know. Luckily, I’m on the right track now.
Let’s talk about another thing the Lori of 15 years ago would have hated – these Olive Tapenade Croutons. Basically, this soup was a nightmare for the young, food-naïve version of myself, but it’s all the current version of myself wants to eat lately.
I’ve just started appreciating olives in the last 3 years or so, and now I can’t get enough of them. To make these olives, I whipped up a quick homemade kalamata olive tapenade in my food processor. I dry-toasted some ciabatta bread cubes for a few minutes, then tossed them with the tapenade and continued toasting until the olive-coated croutons were nice and crisp.
I think I love this Lemon Chicken & Rice Soup recipe so much because it has great contrast – it’s sweet from the lemons and salty from the croutons, it’s thick and filling but still has a light flavor, the rice is soft and the toasted bread is crunchy. Grab a spoon!