Egg drop soup, Italian style

Cantonese egg drop soup has long been a favourite. And then along came Italian egg drop soup with delicious Mediterranean accents heightened by lemon zest and nutmeg.

For the stock:

  • 1,5kg chicken wings and backs
  • 3 onions
  • 3 carrots
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 sprigs fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
  • 1 entirely optional bay leaf


For the egg drop soup:

  • 3l chicken stock
  • 6 jumbo eggs
  • Freshly ground Parmesan cheese
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 lemon for the zest
  • Half a cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt to taste

It is very difficult to have too much stock, particularly if you are a fan of soups and casseroles in general. This recipe makes more stock than the soup requires, so you can freeze the remainder as a valuable kitchen standby. Arrange the chicken wings and backs on a board and, with a heavy cleaver, chop them into large sections, right through the bone. This releases a little marrow into the mix which darkens the stock and lifts the flavour.

Peel and quarter the onions, scrape the carrots and cut them and the celery sticks into 30mm sections. Chop the fresh herbs but leave the peppercorns whole. Now for the great bay leaf debate. The Basckin jury is out on this one. I can discern no benefit in dropping one of these dusty leaves into a meal. Tradition however is hard to ignore. So you decide what you want to do with that optional bay leaf.

Select a large stock pot. Pour in 6l of water and all the ingredients. Bring the contents to a rolling boil, then reduce the heat and allow it to simmer. Use a large kitchen spoon to skim off the foaming scum. Let the stock simmer for 90 minutes then strain through a conical sieve. Let the liquid cool then discard the fat that congeals on the surface. Lightly salt to taste.Now for the egg drop bit of the story. Pour 3l of the freshly made chicken stock into a large pot and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer.

Break the eggs into a mixing bowl and beat them. Add the grated zest of a fresh lemon, ? teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg, 50g of freshly ground Parmesan cheese and half a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Mix. Magic time. Carefully and slowly pour the beaten egg mixture over the tines of a fork held over the pot of simmering chicken stock.

Thin dribbles of raw egg will flow down the tines of the fork and solidify as they hit the hot soup. Let the soup simmer for a minute or two after the pouring business then serve at once. Garnish each bowl with a generous sprinkle of chopped flat-leaf parsley and maybe just a little more grated Parmesan. Enjoy.

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