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Chicken Magiritsa

Jim Botsacos, executive chef of Molyvos Restaurant
/ Source: TODAY

Servings: 6-8 servings


  • 1 whole 3 to 3 1/2 lb chicken, neck and gizzards removed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper to season
  • 3 quarts chicken stock (or canned low-sodium broth)
  • 1 sachet (a small cheesecloth sack tied with kitchen string, containing 2 bay leaves, 1/2 bunch parsley stems [reserve leaves and remaining stems for another use], 1 bunch dill stems [chop leaves and set aside], 1 head of garlic sliced in half, and 10 whole peppercorns)
  • 3 oz avgolemono (see recipe below)
  • 1/4 cup reserved chopped dill
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded lettuce (romaine or baby greens)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced scallion, both white & green parts

DIRECTIONS Rinse chicken well, inside and out, with cold water, and pat dry with paper towels. Season inside and out with salt and pepper.

Pour chicken stock into a large pot and place over medium-high heat. Cover and bring to a boil. Add chicken to boiling stock, along with sachet. Return stock to a boil, uncovered, and then reduce heat to a simmer. Continue to cook chicken in stock, skimming frequently, for 45 minutes, until chicken is tender (you can tell the chicken is done because you can see the meat begin to pull away from the leg bone, and if you pierce the thickest part of the thigh, the juices should run clear).

Remove chicken to a warm serving platter and set aside. When cool enough to handle, remove the skin and discard. Remove the meat and discard bones. Dice meat into bite-size pieces, and reserve.

Strain chicken broth into a pot, discard sachet, and remove 1 cup chicken broth to a separate pot (see avgolemono recipe). Set pot over medium-high heat. Bring soup to a boil and add chicken pieces. Reduce heat to low.

Place 3 oz of avgolemono in a stainless steel bowl and add 1 ladle of hot chicken stock, whisking constantly to incorporate. When thoroughly combined, add one more ladle of hot stock and incorporate. When combined, slowly pour the egg mixture into the soup, whisking. Fold in dill.

Make the avgolemono sauce:

  • 1 cup of chicken stock (or low-sodium canned broth)
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp flour
  • 2 eggs, whites & yolks separated
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground white pepper to taste
  • Pour the stock into a sauce pot and bring to a simmer.

DIRECTIONS Fill a double boiler pot about one third of the way with water, and bring it to a simmer.

Combine the lemon juice and flour in a stainless steel bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the egg yolks and whisk until thoroughly combined.

In another stainless bowl fitted for a double boiler, whip egg whites with a pinch of salt until fluffy. Slowly drizzle the yolk mixture into the whipped whites, whisking constantly to maintain the volume.

Place the bowl over the simmering pot of water (the double boiler) and cook, whisking constantly, until the egg mixture becomes light in color, and the sauce begins to thicken, approximately 4 minutes. Whisking constantly, add the broth to the eggs, very slowly at first, to temper the eggs, graduating to a quick pour, until all the broth is used. Continue cooking sauce, whisking, for another 2 minutes while the sauce thickens. Reserve sauce off the stove in the double boiler. Do not apply more heat or the sauce will curdle.

To serve: ladle soup into warm bowls and sprinkle each with equal amounts of shredded lettuce and scallions.