THINGS I LIKE: Michael Carsiotis' Chicken and Celery in Avgolemono Sauce

When I came to the Department of Microbiology, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, one of my colleagues was Michael Carsiotis. Michael became one of my closest friends who shared many of my values and, especially, a love for food. Michael is of Greek lineage; speaks Greek and  Greek culture and food are part of his life. I have always loved Greek food but never had a dish that was introduced to me by Michael; Chicken and Celery in Avgolemono. Avgolemono is a famous Greek mixture of eggs and lemon juice that is thickened by heating and serves as the base for many Greek dishes, the most famous of which is Avgolemono soup which contains chicken stock and rice and is thickened by the addition of Avgolemono - a GREAT soup! On researching Michael's Chicken and Celery in Avgolemono dish, I  found that, traditionally, the recipe calls for pork rather than chicken. However, I can tell you that substituting chicken for pork does not diminish the taste of this delicious dish, one IOTA. The recipe follows:


1 bunch of celery, including leaves, cut into one inch pieces
2 Lbs pork (or skinless, boneless chicken), cut into one inch cubes
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
juice of one lemon*
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp cornstarch
salt and pepper, to, taste


Brown meat in olive oil and add onions; cook until soft but not browned (5 - 10 min). Add enough water just to cover meat and simmer for 1 hour.

Add celery and cook until tender (20 - 30 min) and the liquid is reduced to about one cup.

In a bowl, beat eggs: mix cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water and add to eggs.

Add lemon juice and mix well.

Temper eggs by adding small amounts of meat cooking liquid until, the "sauce" is warm.

Slowly, stir "sauce" in to meat  and continue to heat, gently, until thickened. DO NOT BOIL!!!

Add salt and pepper, to taste, and serve with rice.

* If you like a more or less tart, lemon taste, adjust the amount of lemon juice that you use.