Egg Lemon Soup with Spinach and Meatballs

Lost Recipes Found: Egg Lemon Soup with Spinach and Meatballs


CHICAGO — Monica Kass Rogers, a longtime national food writer, photographer, home cook and mother, launched a vintage recipes revival column in the Chicago Tribune that eventually became her popular food blog, Lost Recipes Found. Monica’s photography/food styling and recipe testing/development work has appeared in Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, the Chicago Tribune, and more. She currently does this work for JWC Media’s luxury lifestyle magazines and newspaper.

“With my husband’s maternal grandparents Greek and Armenian, one or another deliciously lemony chicken soup was often on the table. In our own home, we’ve kept that going with this fortified version of avgolemono (Greek chicken, egg and lemon soup) that has tiny meatballs and baby spinach stirred in, Italian Wedding Soup-style. If you’ve never made avgolemono at home, you’ll be amazed at the velvety lightness — nothing like the thick, pasty versions you may have encountered in many diners. This is a classic Greek soup that’s thickened with eggs and spiked with lemon. Add some diced or shredded rotisserie chicken and call it a meal,” says Monica.

To make it, simply heat good quality chicken stock, whip egg whites to a soft peaks, stir in the yolks and lemon juice, and temper the mix with hot stock before whisking all together for a lovely pale-yellow finish,” she adds.

The tiny meatballs are a blend of beef, pork, onion, parmesan cheese and parsley, baked up in the oven while you make the soup. To complete, you’ll boil a bit of orzo, and quick-sauté fresh baby spinach. In the spring or summer, this soup is very good with a bit of sorrel instead of the spinach.

Note: You can serve this version of avgolemono  without the add-ins as a first course. This soup is best served right after you make it, she says.


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For the meatballs:

1/2 pound ground pork

1/2 pound ground beef

1 cup freshly grated parmesan (You can use a microplane for very fine shreds)

1/2 cup finely minced onion

1/3 cup finely minced parsley

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon fresh-cracked black pepper

1 large egg


For the soup:

8 cups good quality chicken stock

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon finely ground pepper

4 large eggs, yolks and whites separated

Juice from 3 fresh lemons (Finely grate and reserve zest from one of the lemons)

1 cup orzo pasta, prepared according to package directions

2 teaspoons olive oil, to taste

6 cups fresh baby spinach leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

Garnish: Fresh snipped parsley or dill, thin lemon slices



Make the meatballs:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for the meatballs.

Shape into 36 to 40 small meatballs. Place on parchment. Bake for 30 minutes or until nicely browned and cooked through. Remove from oven and keep warm.


Make the soup:

In a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat, add stock and heat to boiling. Stir in salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium low and allow soup to simmer.

Prepare orzo according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment, beat egg whites at medium high speed until soft peaks form; continue beating a bit longer until peaks are firmer but not dry. With mixer on low speed, whisk in egg yolks and lemon juice. Remove 2 cups of hot stock from the soup pot. With mixer on low speed, slowly and continuously dribble the 2 cups of stock into the egg-lemon mixture, until all is mixed in.

Pour this tempered egg-stock mixture back into the soup pot. Turn heat to medium-low and whisk soup for 10 minutes until it begins to thicken and you have a velvety, light yellow soup. Remove from heat and cover.

Warm 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat. Add baby spinach leaves and reserved lemon zest and stir until spinach has cooked down a bit but is still bright green. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Stir reserved orzo, meatballs and cooked spinach into soup. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve immediately garnished with a sprinkling of parsley or dill, and thin slices of lemon.

Monica Kass Rogers

Monica Kass Rogers says, “Writing has given me the privilege to learn about food from the chefs and restaurateurs who have made careers of this challenging work.  In every instance, history, family and culture contributed to the dishes these professionals love most, giving each a lovely narrative- the story to the taste. You’ll find those stories, recipes, visuals, and hopefully, some connection to the food memories that matter to you, here. Some of the recipes are my own. Some are adapted from vintage cookbooks. Others are chef creations based on vintage recipes they love. Before publishing to the site, I test, prepare and photograph each dish-using natural light. I do a little research for the copy, and put the results together for you here. I have collected dozens of recipes, photos and stories ready to go and will be posting them as I can each week. Where food memories matter.”

For more vintage recipes, information and stories, go to:

MKRogers Features & Photography: (847) 409-7385 or (224) 539-5836


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