Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
Wow, Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup is amazing. I have to admit it’s the first time I’ve ever used lemon in a soup recipe and only the second time I’ve used lemons in main dish recipes. I always thought lemons were only for desserts. 🙂 Boy, was I wrong. This delicious soup is chocked full of rotisserie chicken, veggies, lemon and orzo.
While you can garnish Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup with romano cheese, I thought it was better without it. The nice thing about this soup is it is really quick and easy to make–after you debone your chicken.
When we were in Florida over the Christmas holidays we stopped in at a Greek restaurant several times for lunch meals. Every time we would get some of the house soup which was a Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup. It was fantastic. I owner of the restaurant actually told me how to make the soup and I wrote it down to preserve it. That recipe is a bit simpler than this one with fewer ingredients, but no less tasty.
But when I saw this picture on Pinterest a few weeks ago, it reminded me that I needed to make that wonderful Greek soup recipe sometime. However, instead of making that one, I decided to go ahead with this one and it definitely is a winner.
Lemon with chicken and orzo works really well. One word of caution, however. Orzo has a tendency to absorb ALL the liquid in the soup so I had to keep thinning the soup with water. I could see a difference even when I allowed the soup to stand only 15 minutes (while I was taking pictures), so that by the time I served the soup I had to add more water to thin it appropriately. Even with that little setback the soup is marvelous.
If you’re looking for quick and easy meals this one will do it. You can bake up boneless chicken breasts if you don’t have time to spend deboning a chicken, but this recipe is really better if you cook off your own chicken and use the stock for the recipe. I like to cook mine in the crockpot either overnight or about 4-6 hours first thing in the morning, then allow the chicken to cool in the crockpot about an hour before deboning. It’s much easier deboning hot chicken rather than after it’s been refrigerated.
For this recipe, though, I used a rotisserie chicken John found on close-out at H-E-B and we stashed several of them in the freezer a few weeks back. I used a whole rotisserie chicken for this recipe, but that usually ends up being close to 5 cups of chicken. The original recipe only calls for 3 cups chicken, but since my husband likes a lot of meat I went ahead and put all of it in the soup. We really enjoyed this recipe. I hope you give it a try sometime.
Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup is a heavenly soup. This is chicken soup for the soul!
Here’s a close up so you can see the texture of the soup. It’s healthy and low calorie.
We actually liked the taste of this soup better WITHOUT the Romano cheese–which is unusual for me because I love cheese.
Here’s what I did.
You will use all these items plus minced garlic.
Heat olive oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat. Place the veggies and seasonings in the pan and heat until veggies start to soften. This will take about 5 minutes. (I also added about a cup of celery leaves)
Add chicken broth.
Add lemon juice and bring mixture to a boil.
Deboning the chicken is the only thing that takes time in this recipe. Now add the chicken.
Add the orzo and cook approximately 9 minutes longer.
Add parsley and stir to combine. You can also season with more salt, pepper and thyme (which I did). Remove bay leaves and discard.
Garnish Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup with additional lemon slices and romano cheese. Serve with toasted bread.
Here’s a spoonful of Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup. This soup has great texture and excellent flavor.
The orzo will absorb a lot of the liquid, so you may have to add a little more chicken broth.
Here’s the recipe.
LEMON CHICKEN ORZO SOUP
- 10 cups chicken stock
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 1/3 cups carrots, chopped
- 1 1/3 cups onions, chopped finely
- 1 1/3 cups celery, chopped (I added 1 cup of celery leaves)
- 1 tsp. minced garlic from a jar
- ½ to 1 tsp. thyme
- 1 or 2 bay leaves
- 2 1/2 teaspoons lemon rind, grated (I used the grated rind of one whole lemon)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 rotisserie-cooked chicken, shredded (about 4 cups)
- 8 ounces orzo pasta, uncooked (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf or curly parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely cracked
- 1/4 cup Romano cheese, grated, for garnish
- additional water or broth, as needed
- Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add the carrots, onions, celery, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, lemon rind, salt and pepper.
- Sauté veggies and seasonings over medium heat until vegetables begin to soften.
- This will take about 5 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock and lemon juice.
- Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and add the chicken and orzo.
- Simmer until orzo is cooked through approximately 9 minutes.
- Just before serving stir in the parsley and remove the bay leaves.
- Sprinkle with salt and black pepper, and garnish with Romano cheese, if desired.
If you leave the soup sit for any length of time you will have to add additional water or broth to thin it out a little bit as the orzo absorbs all the liquid and plumps out.
Look at all that meat! Doesn’t Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup look great?