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Calissa’s soothing Greek lemon chicken soup. (Photo credit: Doug Young)

Every holiday season, a hilarious viral video reappears where the comedian portrays his Long Island-accented mother yelling at a person in a crawlspace in her home: “If it says ‘decorations’ on the box, then it needs to come down!

As we all begin to deck the halls of our homes, it will still be the kitchen that we spend the most time in. Why not prepare a delicious soup to reward the person who retrieves the lights from the crawlspace and hangs them on your roof?

Orzo, lemons and egg make this Greek version of chicken soup both bright and filling. (Photo credit: Doug Young)

This authentic Greek avgolemono soup recipe is sure to please.

“With the egg and orzo, it’s a pretty hearty dish,” says Kylie Monagan, partner at Civetta Hospitality, which Calissa in Water Mill is a part of. “Add a hunk of toasted olive sourdough, and it’s an extra comforting meal!”

Although Greece may not be the first place that comes to mind regarding wintry comfort food, avgolemono (lemon-egg in Greek) may debunk this myth. The base, a traditional sauce for stews made with chicken broth, lemon juice and egg yolks, is often served over various meats and vegetables on the Mediterranean islands.

Adding more broth and shredded chicken transforms it into an incredibly satisfying meal.

The trick is tempering the egg before adding it to the soup. Ask a (mitten-free) volunteer to pour the hot liquid in while you are whisking, which will help the process. Stirring in the last of the local farm-stand spinach finishes the dish and should be easy to find. “Swiss chard, escarole, kale or arugula can also work,” suggests Calissa’s executive chef, Bob Abrams.

The winter “Alpine chalet” at Calissa awaits! (Photo credit: Anastassios Mentis)

After your elves have finished, enjoy this comforting soup with a glass of well-deserved wine. “A wine with good acidity is key with this type of soup,” says Monagan. “I’d go for either a Santorini Assyrtiko (we love Hatzidakis, Venetsanos and Koutsoyannopolous) or a coastal Italian white (Vermentino from Fibbiano in Tuscany, Sauvignon Blanc from Reva in Piedmont, or Fiano from Tempa di Zoe in Campania).

Need a bit of holiday decorating inspiration? Head over to the transformed Alpine chalet lounge at Calissa’s for cheese fondue served with toasted bread and apples, spiked hot chocolate and buttered toddies.

It’s going to be an incredibly cozy international season on the South Fork! Bring your spoon and your ear muffs.

Avgolemono (Greek lemon-chicken soup)

Cook Time 35 minutes
Serves 6 servings


  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup diced yellow onions
  • 3/4 cup diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 3/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo
  • 3 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups chopped baby spinach


  • In a large dutch oven or heavy pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil on medium-high. Add onions, carrots, scallions and red pepper. Toss together to sautee briefly then add garlic.
  • Add chicken stock and bay leaves. Raise heat to high and bring to boil. Add salt and pepper then add orzo. Turn heat to med-low and simmer for 10 minutes or until orzo is tender. Stir in chicken.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together lemon juice and eggs. While whisking add 2 ladles of broth from pot (this will temper eggs). Once combined add sauce to soup and stir in spinach. Remove from heat immediately.