By Jodi Lewchuk
This soup was the specialty of my Ukrainian paternal grandmother. It's a special treat in the spring when sorrel starts to grow in the garden; this green's intense lemony flavour is what characterizes the dish. If you can't find sorrel at your local farmers' market, you could try substituting young, tender spinach and stirring in a few tablespoons of lemon juice right at the end of the cooking time to mimic sorrel's flavour. Make sure the heat remains on low in the last step of preparation; if the soup boils, the eggs will curdle.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (or legs, if preferred)
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp grapeseed oil or other neutral oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 large russet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch dice
2 large eggs
1 lb sorrel, washed and any tough stems removed
2 tbsp minced fresh dill
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup Sour cream or plain yogurt, for garnish
In a small stockpot or large saucepan, add the chicken breasts, peppercorns and bay leaf. Add enough water to cover the chicken by about six inches. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Remove the chicken; set aside until cool enough to handle. Strain the stock through a piece of cheesecloth, fine mesh sieve or chinois; set aside. Remove the skin and bones from the chicken and shred the meat; set aside.
In the same pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for one minute. Add the potatoes, increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring often, until the edges of the potatoes start to soften, about 3 minutes. Return the chicken stock to the pot; it should cover the ingredients by about 2 inches. Add extra water if necessary. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
In a small mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs; set aside. Reduce the heat under the stockpot to low. Add the sorrel and dill to the pot, stirring just until the sorrel wilts (this will happen very quickly). Add the reserved shredded chicken. Slowly whisk a small ladleful of stock into the beaten eggs, whisking the eggs lightly while you pour. Pour the tempered eggs into the soup. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Immediately ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream.