Post-Workout Protein Recipe: Avgolemono Soup (Egg-Lemon Soup)

I am once again linking up with A Happy Girl for her Blogember challenge. When it comes to sharing a recipe, I wanted to share something that is delicious AND great to have after a hike or gym session, especially during the colder winter months when you may be snow shoeing your way up mountains (or taking a lift up them and skiing or snowboarding down)! Try making some ahead of time and storing in a thermos to warm up later over a camp fire or in a cozy ski lodge or cabin.

My mother-in-law was an amazing woman who made her own cheese, kombucha (before it was a fad), soup, family clothes (including Mr. Petite Peaker's underwear - yes, I just went there - and snowboard pants), and more. 

Mr. Petite Peaker's parents lived on a farm. They were not wasteful people. Everything in their home, everything on their kitchen table, was wrought from their labor. From the first bite I had of this soup, I was in heaven and could taste the love. It was tangy, creamy (without a drop of cream!), soothing. My mother-in-law looked on with pride as I had seconds and then thirds. I noticed Mr. Petite Peaker wasn't eating his. "I've never liked this soup," he said. I think my jaw literally dropped to the floor, but I quickly recovered it and ate what was left in his bowl, too.

And with that, I'll offer a disclaimer that this soup isn't for everyone. Mr. Petite Peaker doesn't like it. I love it. My mother-in-law - who copied her recipe card for me that very night I had my first bite, not realizing that I would inherit her original card five years later - said it was one of her favorite soups. It's a MLL dish - Must Love Lemons.

Recent research has shown the benefits of consuming at least 10 grams of protein post-workout in order to promote muscle growth at a time (about 30 minutes post-workout) when your muscles are primed for it. Ideally, you want to have at least 20 grams, split into two - pre- and post-workout portions. This recipe is a protein-rich one, with both chicken broth and eggs. Because consuming carbohydrates post-workout helps slow the breakdown of protein and thus speeds muscle growth, the added rice (which could be replaced with orzo or something similar) allows you to kill two birds (no pun intended, though this is a chicken soup!) with one stone.

So without further ado, here is the recipe!

8 cups chicken broth [My mother-in-law made her own, of course...I used the cardboard box variety from the store!]
1/3 cup rice, uncooked
2-3 lemons
4 eggs [My mother-in-law's chickens hatched 'em when she made it...mine came from Trader Joe's hens.]
1/4 lb butter [8T; I used unsalted]
1/4 cup arrow root powder [I used flour]
salt and pepper to taste

I halved the recipe, which serves 6-8, because I knew I was cooking for one and I wasn't sure it would turn out well.

Here are the steps:
Melt the butter in a small saucepan...

and mix in the arrow root powder or flour.

In a separate large pot, bring broth to a boil, add rice, and let simmer for 10 minutes.

Lower heat. Add butter mixture to the broth and boil for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Beat together eggs and lemon juice.

(I know - all of my mixtures are looking very yellow.) Now for the hardest part: tempering the eggs! Add a spoonful of the hot broth to the egg/lemon juice mixture and stir in thoroughly.

Repeat a couple times before adding the mixture to the broth, slowly to avoid scrambling the eggs. Then salt and pepper to taste.

That's it! Super simple, although I have to admit that I had a few bits of scrambled eggs in mine because I wasn't totally successful at tempering. But it tasted wonderful!

So how did I do? Well, Mr. Petite Peaker had a few bites to humor me and his response was, "This tastes just like Mom used to make. Now, where are the leftovers from lunch?" So while I wouldn't call this recipe a unanimous hit in my house, I would call it a universal success! It is so good - even more so because it makes me think of my mother-in-law. Give it a try!