Lemon chicken and rice soup with olive tapenade croutons is pure Greek comfort food in a bowl. It’s rich but light flavor will warm you up and brighten your mood any day of the week.
Lemon chicken and rice soup (often called by it’s Greek name of “Avgolemono”), is a huge tradition here in metro Detroit. No trip to a coney island (what you might just call a diner elsewhere in the country, but a bit different) is complete without this thick but light flavored, comforting soup.
The funny thing about this soup is that I didn’t like it the first time I tried it. In fact, I hated it. My husband I were on a date early in our relationship, and he ordered this soup and let me try a bite. I had a very negative reaction, and told him that I didn’t think lemon belonged in savory food. My, how times have changed.
I mean, what’s not to love about this soup? There’s chicken. There’s rice. There’s lemons. That’s basically it. There’s some egg in there, but it’s kind of hidden egg – used just as a thickener. How could I NOT like this soup when the first time tried it? Maybe it had something to do with the fact that we were at a pizza place. Why a pizza place was serving a Greek soup, I don’t know.
Luckily, I’m on the right track now.
Let’s talk about another thing the Lori of 15 years ago would have hated – these olive tapenade croutons. Basically, this soup was a nightmare for the young, food-naïve version of myself, but it’s all the current version of myself wants to eat lately.
I’ve just started appreciating olives in the last three years or so, and now I can’t get enough of them. To make these olives, I whipped up a quick homemade kalamata olive tapenade in my food processor.
I dry-toasted some ciabatta bread cubes for a few minutes, then tossed them with the tapenade and continued toasting until the olive-coated croutons were nice and crisp.
I think I love this soup so much because it has great contrast – it’s sweet from the lemons and salty from the croutons, it’s thick and filling but still has a light flavor, the rice is soft and the toasted bread is crunchy. Grab a spoon!