Found in: Turkish cuisine
Avgolemono is a family of eastern Mediterranean sauces and soups made with egg yolks and lemon juice mixed with broth, heated until they thicken but before they boil, so the egg doesn't curdle. Avgolemono is the Greek name, meaning egg-lemon; in Arabic, it is called tarbiya or beida bi-lemoune 'egg with lemon', and in Turkish terbiye.
It is the typical sauce used on warm dolma and many vegetables, especially artichokes. It is part of some specific stew-like dishes such as the Greek pork with celery and the Turkish yuvarlak, added just before serving to thicken and assimilate the cooking juices. In Middle Eastern cuisines, it is used as a sauce for chicken or fish.
As a soup, it usually starts with chicken broth, though meat, fish, or vegetable broths are also used. Typically, rice or soup pasta, such as orzo, are cooked in the broth with thin strips of meat before a mixture of eggs and lemon is added. Its consistency varies from near-stew to near-broth. It is important to remove the mixture from the heat before adding the egg-lemon mix, in order to avoid curdling. The safest way to prevent curdling is to remove a cup of broth from the pot and let cool a little, then gradually add the egg and lemon juice while beating the mixture vigorously with a fork or whisk; once the broth is frothy, it is gently added back to the pot and the soup is served immediately. Leftover soup will invariably curdle, even if refrigerated or rewarmed. Its taste will not change but the texture and mouthfeel cannot be recovered.
The soup may be made with whole eggs, in which case the whites are often beaten first until stiff, the yolks and then the lemon juice afterwards beaten-in gradually. The chicken stock with rice is then gradually mixed in, as well. Starch is sometimes added as an additional thickener.
List of soups
Alan Davidson, The Oxford Companion to Food, Oxford, 1999. ISBN 0-19-211579-0.