There are customers who, no matter the weather, will always want soup for lunch. Stella has a repertoire of soups which she rotates through. She cannot please everyone every day, but she can usually please enough people to make it worthwhile to change up the menu on a regular basis.
Today, on this mildly wet day, Stella and her crew are making a tangy, delicious spring soup, which several of her customers look forward to for their lunch. Served with a sandwich or salad, or simply a savoury scone, Stella's Broccoli Egg Lemon soup is a creative take on the traditional Greek soup, avgolemono, which translated means, simply, 'egg lemon'. It can be a little tricky to make, but when someone has been making it as long as Stella has, the method becomes second nature. She makes the soup early in the day because it tastes better after it has sat and the flavours have mingled for a few hours.
Customers begin arriving in the cafe before noon and when they see the 'soup of the day' on the chalk board they do not hesitate to place their orders. They do not want to miss out. The aroma of garlic, lemon and miso gently drifts from the kitchen into the nasal passages of the hungry group awaiting service at the counter.
Inevitably, however, one customer is heard saying to her friend, "What is with all these New Age soups? Why doesn't anyone serve plain chicken noodle soup anymore?"
If you like the sound of this soup, you can make it at home.
Broccoli Egg-Lemon Soup adapted from Moosewood Cooks at Home
servers 4, generously
2 cups finely chopped onions
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 cups finely chopped broccoli florets (stems can also be peeled and finely chopped)
1 Tablespoon minced fresh dill (or 1 teaspoon dried dill)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cups vegetable stock, or 1 bouillion cube dissolved in 4 cups of water
2 large eggs
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (or to taste)
1 cup cooked orzo or rice (optional)
1 tablespoon light miso or soy sauce of your choice (optional)
In a soup pot, saute the onions and garlic in the oil for about five minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the broccoli, dill, salt, and black pepper; and saute for several minutes, until the broccoli turns bright green. Add three cups of stock and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are tender. Remove the soup from the heat entirely.
In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and 1/4 cup of the lemon juice. Whisk in the remaining cup of stock, then add about a cup of the hot soup broth. Gradually pour the egg mixture into the soup pot while stirring the soup. Stir in the orzo or rice, if using. If using the miso, dilute with a little soup in a bowl and then add to the soup pot. If using soy sauce, just stir it right in. Gently reheat the soup, but don't let it boil at all or it may curdle. Add more salt to taste. (Although the miso or soy sauce adds sodium already.)
Broccoli Egg-Lemon soup can be served immediately, but it tastes even better gently reheated after sitting awhile on the very lowest of heat settings. Reheating the soup involves watching the pot very carefully and stirring often to prevent curdling and separating, although the soup is still edible if this happens.Stella would just never serve it that way.