Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Lemon chicken orzo soup

This soup is just the thing for a cold wintery night! Nate asked me to make  a version of the lemon chicken soup he remembered from his childhood in the Chicagoland area (apparently it's a classic there!) I was happy for the new challenge, and decided to make it a bit healthier and more flavorful. Below is my rough guideline recipe. You know I never follow a recipe exactly, so feel free to change it to suit your tastes!

3 tbsp good quality olive oil
2 medium sweet onions, finely chopped
A few cloves of garlic, very finely minced
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (I used the juice of 3 medium lemons)
6 cups homemade (or store bought) chicken stock, plus more for adding later
1 1/2 - 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 4-inch segments
Parmesan rind
1 1/2 cups orzo
5ish ounces fresh arugula
Crushed red pepper flakes

Place a large Dutch oven over low heat. Pour in the olive oil and, when hot, stir in the onions. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Pour in the lemon juice and turn the heat to high. Cook until liquid is completely reduced. Add the stock and bring to a boil.

Add the chicken and Parmesan rind and cook for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. If necessary, add more broth to cover chicken. Using two forks, shred the chicken in the pot, and remove the Parmesan rind. Bring the soup to a boil and add the orzo and arugula. Cook for 7-8 minutes or until orzo is cooked through. Salt to taste.

Ladle soup into bowls and top with crushed red pepper flakes and shaved Parmesan. You could also top with Italian parsley or homemade croutons. Hope you enjoy this, and please let me know how it turns out!

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