I’ve coined this recipe Nëna Vali Soup because it reminds me of lunches at Rez’s Grandmothers in Albania.
Nëna Vali always makes some version of this soup to start the meal. One thing that never changes is tempering an egg or two into the soup. The egg lends a silkiness to the broth, and just the right amount of creaminess. She also taught me to stir in a tablespoon of good quality butter at the end, before serving. Trust me on this one; you’ll be happy you did.
It’s kind of funny because she doesn’t speak a word of English, and I’m nodding along as if I’m fluent in Albanian. I guess that’s the beautiful thing about cooking; it transcends languages. You don’t need to share a common language to teach, learn, and ultimately; connect.
Speedy Nëna Vali Soup
- 1 large Dutch oven or soup pot
- 1 whisk
- 1 wooden spoon
- 1 soup ladle
- 8 cups chicken stock preferably homemade
- 1 cup carrots sliced
- 1 cup celery sliced
- ¾ cup zucchini halved or quartered, and sliced
- 2 cups chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces; rotisserie chicken works well and saves time
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsp fresh dill torn and packed
- 2 eggs
- 2 lemons about ½ cup
- 1 tbsp salted butter cultured would be ideal
- ½ cup uncooked small soup noodles
- kosher salt to taste
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- In a large pot, bring chicken broth to a boil over high heat. Add carrots, celery and zucchini. Reduce heat to simmer, cook until vegetables are tender, about 10-12 minutes.
- Add chicken, oregano, season with salt and pepper, and simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Whisk together egg + yolk with lemon juice. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of the hot chicken broth to temper the eggs. Repeat this process with another 1/2 cup of chicken broth.
- Turn heat to low and whisk egg mixture into the soup. Stir in torn dill. Cover and let soup thicken slightly for 5 minutes while you cook the noodles.
- Prepare noodles as per package instructions. Cooking times can vary from 2-7 minutes so take note. Once cooked, drain noodles and serve immediately.
- Stir the butter into the soup right before serving.
- Spoon 1/2 cup of cooked noodles into the bottom of a bowl. Ladle desired amount of soup over the noodles and serve with a wedge of lemon. Garnish with a sprig of dill.