My soup pot has been getting a serious workout this winter.
Soup is the ultimate comfort food; so much so, it's almost a cliché. Still, this year more than others, I have turned time and time again to soup to bring some much-needed joy to the dinner table.
While that soup has often been hearty or creamy, with deeply developed flavors, this week, as I daydreamed about exotic beach vacations, I was looking for a soup to deliver bright, sunny flavors — and I found it in a bowl of Shrimp and Orzo Lemon Soup.
If you've ever had a bowl of the iconic Greek avgolemono soup, this recipe will feel familiar. Traditionally, it's a chicken and rice soup, enriched with eggs and lemon juice at the end of the cooking process.
Eggs are often used to thicken sauces and soups. Usually that happens in the form of a "liaison," a mixture of egg yolks and cream added to a sauce or soup to thicken and enrich it. In this case, lemon juice is mixed with eggs before being whisked into the hot soup. The result is a light but creamy texture, with a bright, citrusy flavor.
I'm giving this soup an Italian shrimp scampi twist, with sautéed shrimp standing in for the chicken and a healthy dose of garlic added to perfume the broth. To keep with the Italian theme, orzo pasta is substituted for the typical rice.
The result is a bowl of sunshine (speaking of clichés) that comes together in less than 30 minutes. Add a loaf of crusty bread, maybe a glass of crisp white wine, and close your eyes and imagine you're on a warm, sunny Mediterranean beach. Make sure to enjoy every spoonful, because baby, it's cold outside.
Shrimp and Orzo Lemon Soup
Note: Greek avgolemono meets Italian shrimp scampi in this quick, easy, soup. This soup is best if served right away. If you need to reheat it, make sure to do it over low heat, or it may curdle. From Meredith Deeds.
• 3/4 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
• 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
• 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
• 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
• 1 small onion, finely chopped
• 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
• 6 c. low sodium chicken broth
• 3/4 c. uncooked orzo
• 4 large egg yolks
• 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
• 2 tbsp. chopped Italian parsley
Season shrimp with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add shrimp and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, until just cooked through. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate and keep warm.
Add onion and garlic to the same saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until softened, about 4 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high; add broth and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and bring to boil. Add orzo and cook until al dente, 9 to 11 minutes. Remove from heat.
Whisk egg yolks and lemon juice in bowl until combined. Whisking constantly, slowly pour yolk mixture into hot soup (make sure the soup is off the heat, or the eggs may curdle). Cover, and let sit for 5 minutes, until soup is thickened. Stir in shrimp. Taste and reseason with salt, pepper and/or lemon juice, if necessary. Ladle into warm serving bowls. Garnish with parsley and serve.
Meredith Deeds is a cookbook author and food writer from Edina. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, Instagram at @meredithdeeds.