Lemon Chicken and Orzo Soup is a classic recipe. There are hundreds of recipes there for the taking, but this one has become our favorite. First introduced to me by my friend Becca, over time I’ve adapted and edited the soup to make it my own. The more times I’ve made it, the more refined it becomes, and the more firmly it stays among our other favorite recipes.
I love how tender the chicken becomes with poaching and you get the double benefit of fresh chicken broth. That said, if you are looking for a short cut, use store-bought chicken broth and pan fry some diced boneless-skinless chicken breasts. You’ll get a similar result in a much shorter time. Also, we like it pretty spicy, so I generously coat the chicken with spices before poaching it; however, if you like things a little milder, cut back there just a bit–you can always add more later. Finally, this one is especially kid friendly! I’ve been serving it to our daughter since she was 9 months old and, now that she’s a toddler, she loves feeding herself all the pieces of orzo, chicken, and carrot. It is a surefire way to get some veggies in those little bellies!
Serve with your favorite bread (we like Whole Wheat Zucchini Muffins).
Lemon Chicken and Orzo Soup
Adapted from my friend Becca
1.5lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
garlic salt and pepper
8 c water
2 c carrots, cut into rounds
1 large onion, diced
1 1/2 c celery, diced
2 t salt
1 t pepper
zest of 3 lemons
juice of 3 lemons
8 oz uncooked orzo
1/4 c fresh parsley, roughly chopped
Place chicken breasts into a large soup pot. Season liberally with garlic salt and pepper. Add water. Bring water to boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Let simmer for 30-45 minutes. When center of chicken breast reaches 165°, turn off pot. Using pair of tongs, remove chicken to plate and allow to cool. Pour water (now chicken broth) into mason jars and set aside.
Add a splash of olive oil to the soup pot (same pot you used for cooking the chicken) and turn heat to medium. Add carrot, onion, celery, salt, pepper, and lemon zest and sauté for 10-15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Add reserved chicken broth and lemon juice and bring to boil. Add orzo and cook according to package directions in your soup. When orzo has one minute left, return chicken to pot.
When orzo is done cooking, stir in parsley and serve.