Avgolemono, from the words avgo = egg and lemoni = lemon, is a Greek sauce made with eggs, lemons and stock from the food we are cooking. It could be chicken, meat or fish stock.
The amount of stock added depends on how thick you wish the consistency of this sauce. If you are making soup, use 1 cup of stock to prepare the soup but still there will be a lot of stock in the sauce pan.
In some dishes, like dolmades, when they are cooked, you reserve 1 cup of stock and the remaining you discard before adding the avgolemono sauce.
Usually this sauce thickens after a while because of the olive oil or other fat contained in the dish. However, if you are cooking something lean i.e. turkey or chicken mince, if you want the sauce to be thick then add less stock and a tablespoon of corn flour (cornstarch) dissolved in the egg-lemon mixture.
Some people do not add the egg whites out of fear that they may curdle but if the hot stock is added gradually while beating the eggs continuously, this will not happen. When using the whites, they should be beaten first until soft peaks form. Then the yolks and lemon juice are beaten into the whites until just combined. For a less frothy sauce, whole eggs may also be beaten together without the initial separation.
Starch is added to the sauce, depending on the recipe as an additional thickener. Recipes in which the broth contains fat will thicken without the addition of starch.
Apart from soups, this sauce is also used in other Greek dishes like dolmades, giouvarlakia, fricassée, etc. Each recipe will be explained separately.
Preparation time: 5 minutes
- 3 eggs
- the juice of two juicy lemons (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 cup of the hot broth
- 1 tablespoon of corn flour (cornstarch) optional
- Beat eggs with a fork or hand mixer and add lemon juice.
- Add the corn flour and mix until it is incorporated.
- Take broth with a ladle and while still beating eggs, start pouring hot stock, a little at a time, (about a cup).
- Then pour all mixture back in the pan and holding the saucepan, toss it around, so that the sauce reaches the bottom. If you are making soup, stir it well with a ladle.
Note: if you like the avgolemono to be frothy, beat the egg whites separately, until almost like meringue, then add the yolks and continue as above.