Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Chicken-Orzo Soup

Until this recipe, I haven't been able to convince Jim that soup can be served as dinner. He's not a soup man - but I'm totally a soup woman. I love soup. On this particular week night, I was, I was exhausted and very hungry. I wanted to try a cooking light recipe, and chicken noodle soup sounded like a healing meal for my tired and exhausted body. When I found this recipe for Chicken-Orzo Soup I thought it could easily be adaptable to what I had in my fridge. Yes, this recipe turned out to be great and it used up odds and ends that I needed to use up before they went bad. And Jim? He's now converted.

I used whole wheat orzo pasta in my Orzo Chicken Soup. 1/2 cup goes a long way.

I brought 1 3/4 cups chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan, then added 1/2 cup whole wheat orzo and cooked for about 10 minutes. Recipe says to drain the chicken broth, I chose not to, it's a free country.

In a skillet over medium heat I added a tablespoon of olive oil, swirl to coat. Then I chopped up a handful of baby carrots, I didn't have celery (which would have been great), but I added green bell pepper, a white onion and a teaspoon of minced garlic. Cook for three minutes, stirring constantly to soften all the vegetables.

Next I took two boneless skinless chicken breasts and chopped into bite size pieces, and added to the skillet. Alternatively, you could purchase a fully cooked roasted chicken from the grocery store and pull it apart - or cook the chicken another way and then chop or shred into the soup.

Cook and stir for another three minutes.

I added a teaspoon of ground thyme and a teaspoon of celery salt. You could also add fresh parsley and a fresh sprig of thyme if you had it.

I transferred the vegetables to this saucepan and added 3 cups of chicken broth and a bay leaf. (If I would have started with a bigger pot, I wouldn't have had to dirty another pan.) Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

This is a great time to sneak in another vegetable that might go bad in my fridge - some green onions and ZUCCHINI! To "beef" it up a bit I also drained and added a can of Canellini Beans.

Discard the bay leaf, add the zucchini, beans and add a big handful of fresh baby spinach, a tablespoon of lemon juice and salt and pepper if you like - but I thought this soup had plenty of flavor as is.

Ladle into bowls and call it dinner.

Traditional chicken noodle soup has to be on everyones comfort-food list. Using orzo pasta makes a slight improvement over the original; you don't have to worry about long noodles falling off your spoon! With its absolutely classic flavors, this dish is great for a rainy day, a cold day, a sick day, or any day where you find yourself too tired to make anything else.

Don't forget, come back on Friday, November 27th to enter my giveaway.

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