Lemony Lamb Soup


This recipe was inspired by the classic Greek avgolemono soup, a concoction of lemon, chicken broth, egg, and rice. The soup has a definitive lemon flavor, but the fresh mint and lamb meatballs add a richness that balances and grounds the assertiveness of the citrus.


12 ounces ground sirloin of lamb
1 large egg (beaten)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup minced shallot
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 cup brown jasmine rice
6 cups hot chicken stock (divided)
1 1/2 cups water
2 large egg yolks
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
  coarse (kosher) salt (to taste)
  Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)


Combine all of the meatball ingredients in a medium bowl and stir to blend thoroughly. Form the mixture into tiny, bite-sized balls, no more than 1/2 inch in diameter. Set aside.

Place the rice in a medium pan and add 1-1/2 cups chicken stock and the water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cook until the water is absorbed and the rice is just tender, 30 to 40 minutes.

Transfer half of the rice to a blender. Add 1 cup of chicken stock and purée until smooth. Add the egg yolks and lemon juice, and blend briefly.

Pour the contents of the blender into a large saucepan and add the remaining rice and chicken stock (3-1/2 cups). Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.

Add the meatballs and simmer until they're cooked, 8 to 10 minutes.

Stir in the lemon zest and the remaining mint. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.


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