Chicken Soup with Orzo

Tuesday, February 22, 2011
In the throes of winter is there anything better than a piping hot bowl of soup? A good bowl of soup will warm your insides and make you happy. It really is good for the soul.

I adapted this recipe from one I found in Rachel Ray magazine. Her original recipe was a "stoup", a concoction somewhere between a soup and a stew. Since I prefer soup to stew, I added more broth to make it a soup.

Chicken Soup with Orzo (Serves 4)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 ribs celery, preferably the hearts, diced into 1/4" pieces
1 carrot, peeled and chopped into 1/4" pieces
1 medium onion, diced
Salt and pepper
1 rotisserie chicken or 1 lb. boneless/skinless chicken tenders or chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
1-32 ounce container of low-sodium chicken broth
2/3 cup uncooked orzo
Small handful of fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

In a medium soup pot, heat the extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the celery, carrot, onion, and chicken tender pieces (if using). Cook until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender, about 6-8 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a separate pot, cook the orzo according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Add the chicken broth to the chicken and vegetable mixture and bring to a boil. If using rotisserie chicken, add pieces of breast meat to the boiling broth mixture. I generally use the meat from both breasts, but if you like less chicken, use the meat from only one.

Once the mixture has come to a boil and the chicken and vegetables are heated through, lower the heat to low. Add the cooked orzo, chopped fresh parsley, and grated lemon peel.

Serve immediately with crusty bread.

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