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Lemon Chicken & Orzo Soup

Tender chicken breasts with baby spinach, leek, fresh dill, lemon and orzo pasta in a light vegetable broth. Topped with nutty Parmesan cheese. 
Difficulty: Easy
Time: 25 - 30 minutes
Calories: 479 Fat: 6g Carbs: 52g Protein: 56g

Orzo is a pasta that is shaped like rice. It’s often used for pasta salads and is very popular in soups, particularly in Italy. The freshness of dill and bit of lemon in this chicken soup makes this the perfect light, but cozy dish for spring!

Ingredients
Chicken breasts
Orzo
Spinach
Lemon
Parmesan
Vegetable Broth Base
Leeks
Dill
Garlic

Cooking terms for this recipe

Zest The peel of, or grating of a citrus peel for flavor.
Deglaze To dissolve the small particles of sautéed meat left in a pan by adding liquid and heating, then scraping pieces off the bottom of pan.
Al Dente Literally “to the tooth”. Describes the ideal texture of cooked pasta that leaves it with a slight bite, rather than becoming mushy.

What you need

Medium stock pot

Cooking Instructions

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Step 1: MISE EN PLACE

Read through entire recipe before getting started. Wash and dry all produce. Remove and discard root end and dark green top from
leek; slice in half lengthwise, then thinly slice into half moons. Rinse again to remove any sandy soil; pat dry. Remove dill fronds from stems; discard stems and finely chop fronds. Mince or grate garlic. Zest lemon, cut in half and juice. Remove chicken breasts from package; rinse and pat dry. Combine vegetable broth base with 4 cups water.

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Step 2: SEAR THE CHICKEN

Heat 1 tsp. oil in a medium stock pot over medium-high heat. While oil is heating, season chicken with a pinch of salt and pepper. Sear chicken on each side for 1-2 min until a golden crust has formed. Reduce heat to medium and remove chicken from
pan; set on a cutting board. Let chicken rest until cool enough to touch. Note: At this point chicken is not fully cooked.

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Step 3: SAUTÉ THE VEGETABLES

In pot used for chicken, add 1 Tbsp. oil over medium heat. Add leeks and garlic, sauté for 1-2 min until soft and fragrant. Add vegetable broth to deglaze pan. Add orzo pasta and 2 Tbsp. lemon juice. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 8-10 min until orzo is al dente. Stir occasionally to keep orzo from sticking to the bottom. While pasta is cooking, move on to finish the chicken (Step #4).

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Step 4: FINISH THE CHICKEN

Dice cooled chicken into ½” pieces and add to pan, simmer for an additional 5 min to finish cooking.
The USDA recommends cooking poultry to an internal temperature
of 165ºF.

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Step 5: FINISH THE SOUP

Turn off heat, add fresh dill, spinach, and 1 tsp of lemon zest; stir to combine.

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Step 6: PLATE YOUR DISH

Divide soup between two bowls and garnish with Parmesan cheese.