Supposedly it's spring. The cold weather and random snowfalls lead me to believe otherwise, but supposedly it's spring. I'm craving the light and fresh foods I always do in spring, but the cozy heartiness of winter recipes are still super tempting. I need something to warm my bones.
How about a perfect combination of freshness and coziness?
Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup!
I found this recipe a few months ago on Pinterest from one of my favorite food blogs - Damn Delicious. This girl shares some awesome recipes, and you'll probably see me reference her a lot in my posts. She also has a super cute dog.
I have ever so slightly adapted the recipe based on our likes and dislikes. You can find the original recipe here.
Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
4 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
5 cups chicken stock*
1 cup water
2 bay leaves
1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary**
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
*I've used chicken broth in a pinch as a replacement for the stock, and it's still delicious.
**I used rosemary sprigs as you can see in the photo below, and the flavor was excellent, but we ended up having to pick all these tiny pieces out of the soup before we ate it so we wouldn't choke on them. I'd reccomend using dried rosemary instead.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium high heat in a large pot. Season the chicken chunks with salt and pepper.
Once the oil has had time to heat, add the chicken and cook until cooked through and browned on the outside, about 4 minutes (depending on your stove.) Set the chicken aside and return pot to stove.
Add remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to pot and heat on medium. Add the onion, garlic, carrots and celery and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in thyme and cook for one minute more.
Pour in the chicken stock, water, bay leaves and rosemary, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, return the chicken to the pot and add in the orzo. Cook orzo according to package directions, usually about 10 minutes.
Once the orzo has cooked, stir in the lemon juice, and you're done! I like to serve mine in a gigantic soup bowl topped with a little chopped parsley. And a blanket (for your shoulders.)
I hope you enjoy this soup as much as I do!