Chicken Orzo Soup

Spring is here and soup season is slowly slipping away. But not so fast, summer! This week I made chicken orzo soup with a bunch of lemons from the huge tree that grows in the parking lot of my apartment building and some dill I salvaged from a plant that is slowly dying on my kitchen window sill.

I batch cooked a bunch of recipes yesterday so I have to take a minute a dig out my notes on this one. Older Son came home last night and I had all this food to offer him and this is the one he picked. And he doesn’t even like soup.

I know, who the hell doesn’t like soup?!

Okay, here we go. Let’s start with an ingredient list. I spelled ingredient wrong. There, fixed it.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 to 3 regular sized carrots or a handful of baby carrots or ⅛  brick of those carrot spirals from trader joe’s frozen section.
  • 1 small yellow onion. If you have a white or purple onion, just use that.
  • 1 or 2 lemons, if you don’t have any don’t worry about it
  • 3 cloves garlic (or 3 frozen cubes)
  • Dill, fresh or dried or none, again don’t sweat it
  • 10oz chicken breast or thighs or whatever chicken parts you have on hand. Cut the chicken into pieces small enough to fit on your spoon since it is going in soup. If you have some chicken sausage, use that!
  • ½ cup orzo or any other small pasta (if you only have long pasta, snap that into about inch long pieces)
  • 5 cups chicken stock or water (if you only have water you are going to have to really season this pot of soup or if you have boullion cubes or stock concentrate use about two teaspoons or two cubes)
  • 2 tbsp butter (if you don’t have butter, just use more oil)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or any other neutral oil (vegetable, safflower, canola)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

What You’ll Do:

  1. Wash and dry all your produce. Zest the lemon then cut what’s left into either wedges or rounds. Remove any seeds you find since you don’t want to chomp down on one. Peel and fine chop garlic. Small dice carrots and onions. I peel the carrots but that is up to you. If using fresh dill, chop it up and get the stems out.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons butter and one tablespoon olive oil in a pot big enough to hold 5 cups of liquid with enough room to boil and stir and add more stuff. Put in the carrots and onions and then salt and pepper the pot. Cook, stirring for about 7 to 10 minutes, it depends how soft you want your onions. I like mine pretty soft so I go 10 minutes. Keep control of your heat, don’t burn the food.
  3. Put the garlic in and cook for about 30 seconds to a minute. No longer or it burns and stinks.
  4. Add the orzo and the other tablespoon of butter and get the orzo buttery. If you ever made rice-a-roni, you will be familiar with this step.
  5. Add chicken stock. Or water and either stock concentrate or bouillon cubes. If you don’t have stock concentrate or bouillon then you have to add a serious amount of salt. Start with a teaspoon then keep tasting from now until you are done with the soup. If you don’t get enough salt in the pot the soup will taste dim and murky.
  6. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally, so the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot, for about 8 to 9 minutes or until the pasta is as done as you like it.
  7. While all that is happening, put a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet and add the cut up chicken and salt and pepper.  Cook through.
  8. Okay, when the chicken is done and the pasta is done put the chicken in the soup pot then taste the broth. Does it need salt? Pepper? Then put those things in.
  9. Stir it all up one last time. Taste it again. Call someone in from the other room and have them taste it. Stand there and stare at each other for a few seconds. You can take the other person’s advice if it agrees with what you were secretly thinking or just ignore them and do whatever you want, you always do anyway.
  10. Put the soup in as many bowls as people who are going to eat it. The dill and lemons are a garnish so put them in right before eating and then consume.
  11. Try to get the other person to clean up the huge mess you just made in the kitchen.
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