Chicken Orzo Soup

If ever there were a dish to invoke my internal grandmother, it’d be this one–a lemony, luscious chicken soup, with flavor packed into every single cubic inch. It puts my “I want to feed you” instinct into overdrive, makes me want to find someone who’s sick just so I can knock on his/her door with a bowl of this and some saltines. It’s so far removed from the salty Campbell’s version that you might not even know they were cousins. But they are! Kissing cousins. One of whom is just from the more sophisticated (and delicious) side of the family.

It makes a lot of soup–maybe 6 servings. But you should eat at least 2 bowls because you’re looking a little thin these days. And call your grandmother once in awhile, will ya?

Chicken Orzo Soup
2 bone-in chicken breasts
olive oil
canola oil
2 leeks, cleaned and diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
2 parsnips, peeled and diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 bay leaf
3–4 sage leaves
3 sprigs rosemary
16 oz. veggie or chicken stock
4 cups water
1 lemon, cut in half and studded with cloves
1 c. orzo

Rub olive oil, salt, and pepper on both sides of the chicken breasts.

Heat canola oil (about 3 tbsp.) on high in a dutch oven. Get it really hot. When it’s releasing smoke and you can feel the heat with your hand hovering over it, add chicken, breast side down, and sear for 3 minutes. Flip and sear the other side for 3 minutes. Remove the chicken and lower the heat under the pot to medium. Add olive oil.

Add leeks, garlic, salt, and pepper, and sweat for 2 minutes. Add parsnips, carrots, bay leaf, rosemary, and sage. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the veggies glisten a bit from the oil and are somewhat softened.

Place the chicken back in the pot on the bed of veggies, and add the lemon studded with cloves. Cover with stock and water. Bring to a boil. Add orzo.

Reduce heat to simmer and cook until chicken is cooked through and veggies are soft, about 15 minutes.

Remove the chicken and remove its skin. With two forks, shred the chicken and add it back to the pot.


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About Kate Soto

4 responses to “Chicken Orzo Soup”

  1. Mom says :

    That’s something that dad would eat. Looks yummy.

  2. Angela says :

    I made this following the instructions exactly. It was absolutely wonderful!

    Tell me, how does one chop a leek? I just used the green bits, and it was fine, but can I use the white parts, too?

  3. Kate Soto says :

    This is how I approach leeks:
    1. Cut off the bottom piece that has the scraggely tail.
    2. Cut in half, lengthwise.
    3. Rinse all the dirt out from the layers under running water.
    4. Starting at the cut end (white), chop in 1/4-inch pieces.
    5. Cut all the way up to the green until it starts to change texture. The green ends get tough. I don’t use those.

    Does that help?

    • Angela says :

      A little over one year later, and, yes that is very helpful.

      I know I tell you this all the time BUT I LOVE THIS CHICKEN SOUP RECIPE MORE THAN ANY OTHER CHICKEN SOUP RECIPE IN THE WORD. Maybe more so than any other recipe. It’s like, perfect in every way.

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