What is more comforting than a big piping hot bowl of homemade chicken soup? I think we have all grown up eating chicken soup in some fashion. To warm up our insides from chilly winter air, or to help cure a not so fun cold. For as long as I can remember, chicken soup has always been one of the most sought out comfort foods in my home. I have taken a basic homemade soup recipe and molded it into a light, elegant and almost refreshing chicken soup that is full of vegetables and flavor. Plus it’s healthy! (great for kids who don’t want to eat “healthy” soup).
LEMON CHICKEN SOUP WITH ORZO AND BABY SPINACH
- 2 tablespoons EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
- 4 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 quarts chicken stock (use good quality chicken stock!)
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
- 8 oz of uncooked orzo (rice shaped pasta)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 2 cups of fresh baby spinach (washed you can add the whole leaf or roughly chop them)
- ¼ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
Place a soup pot over medium heat and coat with the bottom with the oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Cook and stir for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened but not browned.
Pour in the chicken stock and lemon juice and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the orzo and simmer for 5 minutes or until the orzo is cooked.
Fold in the chicken, and continue to simmer for 5 minutes to heat the chicken through. Right before serving add all of the fresh spinach leaves to the soup. Cook a few minutes longer, stirring well just until the spinach leaves start to wilt.
Season the soup with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley before serving.
If you are in a rush you can always use whatever left over chicken you may have on hand. I find that rotisserie chicken comes in extremely handy for this recipe.