Fall hits and all I want for dinner is soup! Every and any kind of soup. One of my go to soups is chicken noodle soup but I decided I wanted to try a different variation on it, something a little more vibrant. And what is more vibrantly flavorful than lemon? Plus lemon pairs so well with chicken, especially when you add in a blend of Greek herbs and fresh spinach.
I really couldn’t get over how much I loved this Lemon Chicken and Spinach Orzo Soup! It will definitely be added to our dinner rotation and it was a soup my whole family enjoyed. My mom couldn’t stop talking about how much she loved it too. It’s one of those one pot, easy to make soups that you’ll be craving during the entire cold season – and even come those warm months I’m sure I’ll still be wanting this one. It would be such a comforting soup if you come down with a cold or when you’re just getting over the flu (knock on wood). Plus, to me, it even seems like a detox soup with the generous amount of spinach, the fresh lemon juice, garlic and other veggies. It’s a perfectly filling soup and it’s an ideal way to relax after a long day – with a big bowl of this and a thick slice of fresh french bread slathered with butter. Don’t mind if I do.
Lemon Chicken and Spinach Orzo Soup
Yield: About 6 servings
- 1 lb boneless , skinless chicken breasts
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil , divided
- 1 1/2 cups chopped carrots (about 3 large)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped celery (about 3 stalks)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (1 medium)
- 5 cloves garlic , minced
- 7 cups chicken broth
- 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp each dried basil , dried thyme, and dried rosemary
- 1 cup (5.8 oz) dried orzo pasta
- 1 parmesan rind , plus shredded parmesan for serving
- 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 5 oz (5 packed cups) fresh spinach, roughly chopped
Place chicken on a cutting board, cover with plastic wrap and pound evenly to about 1/2-inch thickness. Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil a large enameled cast iron pot over medium-high heat. Add chicken and sear on both sides until browned, about 2 - 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate leaving oil in pan. Add an additional 1/2 Tbsp olive oil to pan then add carrots, celery and onion and saute 3 minutes. Move veggies to the side, add garlic and saute 1 minute. Pour in chicken broth, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary and season with salt and pepper to taste. Return chicken to pot and bring to a simmer. Add orzo and parmesan rind, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer stirring occasionally, about 8 - 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through (it should register 165 degrees in center on an instant read thermometer). Remove parmesan rind and chicken and transfer chicken to a cutting board. Let chicken rest 5 minutes then cut into very small cubes, about the length of the orzo. Meanwhile continue to cook soup, covered. while chicken is resting.
Return chicken to soup along with lemon juice, lemon zest and spinach and heat through. Serve warm with parmesan cheese. Note that as soup rests the pasta will absorb the broth so you can as a little more broth as desired.
Recipe source: Cooking Classy