PHEW. We survived the end of the world! According to my weather lady it actually ended twice. Three times? I can’t remember. I was too busy drowning in my thermal pjs, XXXL sweatshirt that I could literally hibernate in, wool socks….fleece robe….occasionally I would peek out of one of the sleeves and beg a passerby for a cup of hot tea. Or the TV remote.
Temps are back up to a balmy 30 degrees, but I’m not going to lie… -46 wind chill or 35 degrees I am a GIGANTIC weather wimp! If I was the weather woman the world would have ended the first of October.
So polar vortex or sunny snow day – I LOVE a big bowl of hot soup in the winter. And this Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup is one of the best. Its rich and creamy – with zero cream! With this perfect savory flavor between the thyme, onion, and vegetables. Also, in case you’re a bit turned off by the “lemon” in the title, the lemon flavor is very very subtle. It’s more of a background flavor that perfectly compliments the other ingredients. I adapted this recipe from Ellie Krieger – one of my favorite Food Network cooks! This lady knows her stuff.
Plus it’s packed with a healthy dose of protein, vegetables, and whole grains to keep us in tip top shape for flu season. Lower cal, lower fat and freezer friendly. I like to make this on Sunday, save a few cups of it in the fridge for dinner this week, then freeze the other half for quick dinner later in the month. Tip for freezing – omit the orzo. Pasta doesn’t freeze very well, it can break down and get mushy, so I recommend making the orzo in a separate pot and adding to the soup as you eat.
So enjoy and stay warm! Also check out my video below if you want to see a demo of the actual recipe!
To Freeze – cook orzo separately. Freeze soup without orzo and serve with fresh orzo as you reheat to eat.
- 4 teaspoons olive oil
- 12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into small chunks
- 1 pinch salt, plus more to taste
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 large stalks celery, diced
- 2 large carrot, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup whole wheat orzo
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with the salt, add it to the pot, and cook, stirring, a few times, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a dish and set aside.
- Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the pot. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and thyme and cook, stirring, over medium-high heat until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add 5 cups of the broth and bring to a boil. Add the orzo and let simmer until tender, about 8 minutes. Turn the heat down to low to keep the soup hot but not boiling.
- Warm the remaining 1 cup broth in a small saucepan until it is hot but not boiling. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs. Gradually whisk the lemon juice into the eggs. Then gradually add the hot broth to the egg-lemon mixture, whisking all the while. Add the mixture to the soup, stirring well until the soup is thickened. Do not let the soup come to a boil. Add the cooked chicken to the soup. Season with salt and pepper and serve.