Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chicken-Orzo Soup

I think my kitchen has been invaded by soup gnomes.  My recipe binder has a giant section of tasty soups, but no matter how quickly I add a new page, it gets filled right up with new recipes.  No matter what cookbook, magazine, blog, or website I read, some delicious soup jumps out at me and demands to be tasted.  Last fall I made soup almost every day for a month and I still didn't get through all of them.  But since 1. soup is amazing and 2. soup season lasts half the year or more, I've decided it's a good problem to have.  So I went ahead and tried this one.

I found some orzo at the co-op a while ago, so I followed the recipe pretty closely.  I think it would work fine with that tiny star-shaped pasta that has been hogging the shelf for the past couple of weeks, though.  Of course, I used Brakebush chicken (the plain, non-breaded kind), and I had some fresh parsley left over from my stuffed peppers, so I used that too.  The result: a pretty simple chicken noodle soup with a twist.  I will probably be making this again; that is, once I get through the ten other new soup recipes waiting in line.

Chicken-Orzo Soup
Time:  45 minutes to 1 hour
Serves 4

4 cups (32 oz.) chicken broth
1/2 cup uncooked orzo or stelline
2 tsp. olive oil
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
1/2 onion, diced
3/4 pound plain, non-breaded Brakebush chicken, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/4 cups water (add 1 cup more if you like a thinner soup)
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
4 cups spinach, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 T. fresh lemon juice
black pepper

1.  Bring 1 3/4 cups broth to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Add orzo or stelline; cook 10 minutes or until done.  Set aside.

2.  While pasta cooks, heat a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add carrots, celery, and onion; cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add chicken and cook 1 minute.  Stir in remaining 2 1/4 cups broth, 1 1/4 cups water, parsley, and thyme; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer 10-15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Add orzo, spinach, juice, and salt and pepper to taste; simmer 1 minute.

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