Savoring the Season: Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

PUBLISHED ON: 01.17.2014

Soup in my world is fundamental.  It is basic, real and soulful.  My love affair with soup may be because simply stated Soup can just happen.  It can be made from almost anything leftover bits of meat, veggies, discarded celery tops, a handful of beans or pasta woven together in a broth, it just works, and is almost always good.

This is a Greek inspired soup that delivers on simplicity and flavor.   A rich lemon herb infused stock with chicken, orzo pasta, carrots, celery and greens.  Damn, it is good.  Be smart and double-batch this recipe.

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
Recipe from Prevention
Serves 8

1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
4 carrots, halved length-wise and chopped
3 ribs celery halved length-wise and chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
3- 32 oz boxes (12 cups) low sodium, chicken stock
1lb. cooked chicken ( I used chicken breast but a small rotisserie chicken would work)
8-ounces orzo pasta
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
Zest from one lemon
Black pepper, to taste
8-oz. baby spinach ( I used kale with good results)
In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, heat oil on medium heat.  Add the onions, carrots and celery.  Cook until the vegetables begin to soften, and the onions become translucent.  Add in the garlic, and cook for another minute or so.  Add in thyme, bay leaf, oregano and pepper.  Cook for another 30 seconds or so, and add in the broth.  Bring to a boil and then partially cover and turn down to a simmer.  Cook until the vegetables are just soft, about 5-6 minutes.
Add in the pasta, lemon juice, lemon zest. Stir.  Simmer 7-8 minutes.
Add in the cooked chicken.  Allow to heat through.  Stir in the baby spinach and allow to get wilted in hot broth.  Remove bay leaf and serve.

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