A light and nourishing lemon chicken soup with chicken meatballs, peas, and feathery egg strands is the best comfort food. An updated classic that's fun for kids to help make and eat! (Skip to recipe.)
Cooking with Meredith
What came first: the chicken or the egg?
That's the question Meredith and I were debating as we cooked this soup. Unfortunately we couldn't solve that age old conundrum.
But the soup, with both chicken and egg in it, tasted so good we didn't care. Light and flavourful, with a fresh lilt of lemon, bright green peas, and delicate egg strands (they reminded us of downy 'feathers'), plus some tasty meatballs - yum. It would serve just as well for a bowl of comfort on a chilly winter day as it would for a light meal on a warm spring day. Add some flaky biscuits, and life is great.
And of course - chicken soup and the power of lemon - what better way to help soothe a nasty cold or flu?
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Kitchen Frau Notes: If children are helping roll the meatballs, remind them to not touch anything with 'chickeny' hands and to wash well with soap after rolling. It's a good time to talk about being clean in the kitchen to prevent germ contamination.
If you have a whole pound (454gms) of ground chicken and would like to use it up, double the meatball recipe, then use half of the meatballs for the soup and bake the other half in a 400°F oven for 15 minutes. Cool them and freeze them to add to pasta sauce or to add to another batch of this soup when you make it again.
Or make a double batch of Lemon Chicken Soup and you'll have some great leftovers for work or school lunches. Mmm, I'd love a thermos container of this soup in my lunch.
Lazyman (or woman) version: Just use two uncooked chicken breasts, diced, instead of the chicken meatballs.
Lemon Chicken Soup with Egg Strands and Meatballs
- 1 medium onion
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 4 cups (960ml) chicken stock, homemade or good quality purchased
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup frozen peas
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
For the chicken meatballs:
- ½ lb. (225gms) lean ground chicken
- ¼ cup (25gms) quick oats (small-flake rolled oats, gluten-free if necessary)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley or dill, or 2 teaspoons dried
- 1 teaspoon oil
Dice the onion and celery into small pea-sized cubes.
Heat the tablespoon of butter and tablespoon of oil in a dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat.
Add the diced onion and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, or until they are soft.
While the vegetables are cooking, mix the meatball ingredients: Combine the ground chicken, rolled oats, salt, pepper, and parsley or dill. Mix with your hands or a spoon until well combined. Add the teaspoon of oil and mix again - this will make the mixture less sticky.
Grate the lemon zest (just the outside yellow part of the peel) on a fine microplane grater. Add the chicken stock, lemon zest, bay leaf, salt, and white pepper to the sauteed onions and celery. Turn the heat to low, cover the pot, and let simmer while you roll the meatballs.
Roll the ground chicken mixture into 24 small meatballs, about 1 inch (2.5cm) in diameter, and set them onto a cutting board or plate.
Turn the chicken soup back up to medium heat. Gently drop the meatballs into the simmering soup, one by one. Cook for 5 minutes.
Crack the two eggs into a small bowl, and beat them lightly with a fork.
Gently stir the simmering soup with a wooden spoon with one hand and pour the beaten eggs into the soup in a thin stream at the same time with the other hand. The egg will separate into thin strands or 'feathers'.
Add the frozen peas and let the soup come back up to a gentle boil. Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaf. Add the lemon juice. Taste and add more salt if the soup needs it.
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