toasted orzo chicken soup

after eating four cupcakes in the last 24 hours,
i decided it was time for some vegetables. and since it's been so cold up here (and to get jason reacclimated to february in new york) it was time for a quick chicken soup. so i got to chopping...

i don't really mind chopping, it's just that sometimes more than half the time to cook is chopping. but i can't bring myself to buy pre-chopped vegetables. and really, who wants to eat a pre-chopped onion anyway. sounds like nothing but sog to me.

(and yes, that is a zucchini. i had to break down and buy one. ironic, i know.)

all in all, the soup took me about 45 minutes to make. still not too bad. and it was good enough we ate all but one snack size bowl for dinner.

what worked
  1. jason really liked the peas. i really liked the carrots.
  2. shredding the chicken (instead of cutting it) is the way to go.
what didn't
  1. next time, more vegetables. corn, maybe. yellow squash too.
  2. i'm not sure what toasting the orzo did, if anything. the orzo was good but didn't have a crazy strong presence. swap it out for another small noodle, if you like.
  3. i didn't have parsley or lemon zest to finish, but i'm betting it'd be good.
similar to the stir fry earlier this week, this is a simple base for a chicken & pasta soup. add whatever small pasta and vegetables you like. just make sure the vegetables can stand up to the boiling water and you avoid anything that would turn to mush.

toasted orzo chicken soup
from everyday with rachel ray, december/january 2010

32-oz (4 cups) chicken stock
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast pieces or tenders
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup orzo pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small zucchini, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1/2 small red bell pepper, finely chopped (i used green)
2 shallots or 1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  1. In a medium pot, bring the chicken stock and chicken to a simmer. Lower the heat and poach the chicken for 12 minutes.

  2. Heat a dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the butter to melt. Add the orzo and cook, stirring, until deeply toasted, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

  3. Add the olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, to the dutch oven. Add the zucchini, carrot, bell pepper, shallots and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, 7 to 8 minutes. Return the orzo to the pot.

  4. Remove the chicken from the stock. Skim and discard the fat from the stock; transfer the stock to the dutch oven. Chop, dice or shred the chicken and add to the soup with 2 cups water. Bring the soup to a boil and cook until the orzo is just tender, 5 minutes. Add the peas during the last minute of cooking. Turn off the heat; stir in the parsley and lemon peel. Serve immediately.


  1. That sounds wonderful! I have some orzo I need to use up and I enjoy soup, even in the summer.

  2. I use this recipe for a homework at college :D thanks a lot!!!


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