Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup.

I came across this recipe on Pinterest, I think.  I have been drooling over the picture for at least a month and finally decided to make it this weekend.  I love soup that you put spinach in like this (I have a great recipe for a chicken tortellini soup with spinach that I’ll have to post up some day!).  I was intrigued by the lemon flavor, as I love lemon and was curious how it would mesh in a chicken soup.  Thanks to thecocinamonologues.com for the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 large (or 3 small) carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • zest and juice (about 1/3 cup) of 2 lemons
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/4 cups orzo
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • a couple of generous handfuls of fresh spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  • Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large pot.
  • Add carrots, celery, and onion; cook about 5 minutes (until veggies begin to soften).
  • Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more.
  • Add the broth, bay leaf, lemon zest, and lemon juice; bring to a boil.
  • Add orzo and cook for 7-8 minutes, until orzo is tender.
  • Add chicken and cook for a couple of minutes to allow it to heat through.
  • Stir in spinach and allow it to wilt for about 1 minute.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • When ready to serve, remove bay leaf and stir in parsley.

Notes:

  • I really did enjoy it.  The only thing that I can say is that it is definitely very lemony!  If you aren’t a lemon fan you will hate this soup.  While I did like it (and am jonesing for another bowl of it as I am posting this blog!), I think the next time I might cut it back to zest and juice of one lemon to see how it compares.  The lemon really does almost overwhelm the rest of the flavor of the soup.
  • This can be really easy to make as there is very little prep work involved (depending on how “homemade” you want to go).  Usually I’m a huge believer in making your own chicken broth; but due to the general laziness of the weekend I sucked it up and bought two boxes of sodium free chicken broth.  I already had a pack of shredded chicken in the freezer (probably from making the last batch of broth :)) but you could do as the original recipe suggested and pick up a rotisserie chicken if you don’t want to bother with cooking your own.  I think I made the entire thing from start to finish (including chopping the veggies) in less than a half hour.
  • I don’t really believe in peeling carrots for soup.  I didn’t bother.
  • It’s a nice, light, soup; good for spring coming!  I will definitely make it again.
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