Chicken soup on a chilly, rainy evening is a treat. Especially when you get to enjoy it in a cozy house with an old friend. My college/Chicago/adventuring buddy Hadley came to visit with her husband Jeremy and new baby Leaf last week, and we had this lemony chicken soup for dinner.
The recipe as I found it in Bon Appetit Magazine is below. Instead of simmering the chicken in broth as the recipe states in step one, I used some of the chicken and drippings from my Crockpot chicken recipe, slow-cooking the leaks and celery in the crockpot, and reserved the rest of the chicken for another use. So skip step one if you’re following my Crockpot method.
One of the best parts about this soup is the piquant dose of lemon that finishes the dish. After the soup is in the bowl, a hearty squeeze of fresh lemon juice from half a lemon goes on top of each serving. The lemon really wakes up your senses and balances out the savory, complexity of the chicken and chicken drippings in the broth. The lemon, combined with the fresh dill and orzo, gives the soup a Greek flavor profile. The combination is so nice I think this soup could also be good served at room temperature during the summer months – the lemony broth doesn’t weigh you down.
Lemony Chicken and Orzo Soup
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Serve this soup with a nutty bread to sop up every last drop of lemony goodness.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium leek, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced crosswise
1 celery stalk, sliced crosswise
12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken thighs
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup orzo
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
Heat olive oil in a dutch oven or large pot over medium high heat. Add leek and celery and stir until softened, seven to eight minutes. Add chicken and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat then let chicken simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until cooked through. Remove chicken to a plate and cut into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
Bring broth to a boil and add orzo. Cook until al dente and then return chicken to the pot.
Portion soup into bowls and top with dill and the juice of a lemon half (I like to use my lemon juicer to get all the juice out. Enjoy!