Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

 

Lemon chicken orzo soup is a tasty meal in itself and can be prepared quickly and enjoyed right away.

What’s nice about this soup is that it’s quick and easy to make and really tasty. Especially with the zesty lemon flavor. Lemon chicken orzo soup is actually a meal in itself: vegetables, meat and carbs, glorious carbs! Plus, somebody else has cooked the chicken for you!

I don’t think there’s any other short-cut pasta with the versatility of orzo. It works in salads, soups, pastas. Always good to have in your pantry. We often serve it as a side dish dressed with just Parmesan and butter. Here, orzo is a great soup-enhancer.

What a carb!

Many italian recipes contain orzo as an ingredient--it's one of the most popular small italian pastas.

Start with buying one of those rotisserie chickens in the supermarket. I think those things are one of the best deals going. Almost as cheap as buying a chicken and roasting it yourself. Of course you can roast your own chicken, but our motto is “made simple” so we’ll stay on point.

Pull the meat, white and dark, off a roasted chicken until you have 3 cups. Tear the meat into bite-size pieces. Give the dog a few pieces (carefully checking for bones) as he or she will be at your side waiting for a taste. Mine was. Johnny on the spot. I can’t stand it when he stares.

Chop and saute your vegetables, toss in your flavor enhancers. Add the broth and when it boils, pour in the orzo and cook it about 7  minutes. Just to al dente. Take the soup off the heat and add the spinach, stirring till it’s partially wilted. Add the chicken and the lemon zest and juice. Season and serve.  You can pass a dish of Parmesan cheese for sprinkling. Enjoy.

Lemon chicken orzo soup can be served as a weeknight family meal or served to guests as a succulent first course.

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Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Yield: 8 servings

Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup each thinly sliced carrot and celery
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced thyme
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 8 cups low-sodium (or home-made) chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup uncooked orzo
  • a 5-ounce package of baby spinach (picked over)
  • 3 cups cooked diced chicken (or turkey)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large soup pot, heat oil to medium hot and saute the onions, carrot and celery until softened 7-8 minutes
  2. Add the garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes and cook until their fragrance is released, one minute
  3. Add the broth and bring to a boil.
  4. Stir in the orzo and cook until al dente about 7 minutes
  5. Off heat, add the spinach and stir until partially wilted, then add the meat, zest and lemon juice.
  6. Season with salt and pepper and serve with a dish of Parmesan cheese to pass

 

   

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