Tuesday, March 26

Lemon Chicken & Spinach Orzo Soup

I just got back from my bachelorette party in Las Vegas and am in recovery mode. Besides suffering from a serious lack of sleep, I've also managed to lose most of my voice. Soup seemed like the perfect cure but generally isn't a realistic weeknight meal because it takes awhile to develop flavors simmering on the stove. Thankfully, this recipe (inspired by this) is a quick-cooking soup that's made in one pot and only takes about thirty minutes. It's full of veggies and lean chicken and has a great freshness from the lemon and dill that gets added at the end. Even though it's so fast to make, the soup manages to develop a slow-cooked taste from my secret ingredient: a Parmesan cheese rind. I actually prefer it to a traditional chicken noodle soup since the flavors are much more complex.

Lemon Chicken & Spinach Orzo Soup:
  • Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  • Add in 2 diced celery stalks and 1 diced leek* and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened but not brown.
  • Pour in 7 c. low-sodium chicken stock and increase the heat to high.
  • Add in 3/4 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs and the rind from 1 wedge of Parmesan cheese* submerge in the liquid.
  • Season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  • Cover the pot with a lid, lower to a simmer, and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
  • Remove the chicken with tongs, let cool, and shred the meat.
  • Meanwhile, add in 1/2 c. orzo and boil in the broth for 8 minutes, or until al dente.
  • Stir in 4 c. loosely packed baby spinach leaves and the juice from 1 lemon.
  • Allow spinach to wilt into the soup, about 2 minutes, then stir in 1/4 c. chopped dill.
  • Check for seasoning, remove the rind of Parmesan, and divide into bowls.

Serves four
*White and light green parts only. Make sure to clean the leeks before adding to the pot. I like to split them in half and place in a bowl of cold water - the dirt will fall to the bottom and the clean leeks will stay floating on top.