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Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

 Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

This is the perfect weeknight chicken soup with orzo, leeks, lemon zest and loads of lemon juice for serving, plus spinach and a handful of fresh dill or parsley. A healthy and fresh soup bursting with bright lemony flavors and tender orzo pasta! Each bowl has tender pieces of meat and hearty vegetables, plus a squeeze of lemon juice for bright citrus flavor. Want to make this tasty recipe even easier? Feel free to use leftover roasted chicken or rotisserie chicken instead.  

You can definitely use rice instead of the orzo but I love the addition of the orzo. It gives the soup almost a velvety finish because some of the starch that escapes the orzo thickens up the soup perfectly. It takes less than 10 minutes to cook. I add it right into the boiling stock, which infuses more flavor into the noodles instead of cooking it separately and adding it later. Saves you from using an extra pot too.

I like to add the zest at the beginning of the recipe and serve this soup with lemon wedges so each person can add as much lemony flavour to their soups as they like. If I was making this just for me I would add a couple of tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice into the soup after I have stirred in the fresh herbs because I love a lemony soup. Feel free to do what you like according to your taste and make sure to season the soup as you go. 

This is what I crave during the winter months of course, or when I’m feeling a bit under the weather, but also during the spring or that bit of time between spring and summer when the days are starting to warm up slightly but the evenings still have a chill in the air. It’s loaded with flavours that I think are totally springlike - spinach, leeks, fresh and fabulous herbs and lemon. I also love to add fresh or frozen peas to mine sometimes amping up the veggies and springlike vibes.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup yellow onion diced
  • ½ cup carrot peeled and diced
  • 2 sprigs celery diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 6 cups chicken broth Note 1
  • 1 pound chicken breasts skinless and boneless
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 cup orzo uncooked, regular or whole wheat
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice + lemon zest of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

In a dutch oven, over medium high heat. Heat olive oil and melt the butter.

Add onion, carrot and celery, and cook for 5 minutes.

Add garlic, and cook for 30 seconds.

Add flour, stir and cook for 1 minute.

Pour chicken stock, add the chicken breasts, bay leaf, and dried herbs.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes.

Add the orzo and cook uncovered while stirring regularly for 10 minutes (you don’t want the orzo to stick to the bottom of the pot).

Remove from heat, discard bay leaf, take the chicken out (and make sure it reached 165°F/74°C) and shred it then return it.

Stir in the lemon juice, zest, and parsley, season with salt and pepper. Taste the soup and adjust seasonings to your preference.

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