The Calendar says “Spring” the weather says winter as I’m looking outside at freshly fallen snow covering the ground and trees. I’ve had enough of winter, although I confess it is quite beautiful with the snow clinging to the trees creating a beautiful winter wonderland canvas. The weather has been crazy here in Northeast Ohio as in other parts of the country as well. A few weeks back we had 68 degrees one day and then this past week it was only 17 degrees. My tulips are up and have already been eaten by deer and my daffodils are up and anxiously awaiting to bloom.
I make soup mostly in the winter and was perusing the web for a new soup and saw this recipe which I though would be quite delicious. Turns out I was right. It is a refreshing take on chicken soup with lemon giving it a nice burst of taste.
1 tsp. Olive oil
1 med onion, chopped
3 – 4 med carrots, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
3 – 32 oz. boxes of fat free, low sodium chicken stock (I used home-made chicken stock)
8 oz. cooked and chopped chicken breast (I cooked a whole chicken, used the chicken for the soup and made stock)
8 oz. orzo pasta, parboiled in salted water for half the time called for on the package and drained (Just add this to the soup, it does not need to be pre-cooked)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice ( about 2 lemons)
zest from one lemon
salt and pepper, to taste
8 oz. organic baby spinach
lemon slices and Parmesan cheese for garnish ( optional )
1. In a large stock pot or dutch oven heat oil on med heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery. Cook until vegetables begin to soften and onion starts to become translucent. Add in the garlic and cook for another minute or so. Add in the bay leaf, thyme, oregano and some salt and pepper. ( as much as you like on the salt and pepper) Cook for another 30 seconds or so, and add in all the broth. Bring to a boil and then partially cover and turn down to a simmer. Cook until the vegetables are just soft.
2. Add in the
parboiled orzo, lemon juice and lemon zest. Stir. Add in the cooked chicken. Allow to heat through. ( Pasta will continue to cook at this point) Before serving, stir in baby spinach and allow to get wilted in hot broth. Check for salt and pepper and add as needed and remove bay leaf. Check pasta to see if it is soft enough. Spoon into bowls and garnish with lemon slices and Parmesan cheese, if desired.