Lemon Orzo Chicken Soup
You know my Dad is diabetic, right? As is my Aunt, an Uncle and some cousins too. It more than kinda runs in our family. Anyway my mom and I were talking recently about carbs and pasta and how to enjoy them in your diet without overdoing it. She was saying when she makes spaghetti, she only uses about a nickel’s worth of dry pasta (unlike me who pours the whole box in) for just the two of us.
So along these lines….when I was working on this recipe, I ended up making it three separate times. The first time I made it I made a HUGE batch and (wrote the recipe accordingly) using 3 quarts of chicken stock and well….since it’s just my hubby and I here at the house, we ate this for days. Now don’t get me wrong….I’m not complaining, but nobody needs that much Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup! 😀
The second time I made this I used less chicken stock but did not adequately reduce the amount of pasta and ended up with a lemony orzo chicken casserole rather soup, which though quite delicious, was not what I was going for either…
Just like Goldilocks and The Three Bears the third time was just right! I reduced the orzo to 1/3 of a cup (seriously down from the full cup I used last time!) and the soup is creamy, delicious, lemony and light low-carb. A satisfying soup to serve for an easy lunch and paired with a salad, a delicious dinner!
Lemon Orzo Chicken Soup
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 carrot chopped
- 1 stalk celery chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest & juice of 1/2 lemon
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 cups shredded cooked chicken
- 1/3 cup to 1/2 orzo pasta * dried
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 bay leaf
- In a large stockpot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery - season with salt, pepper (red & black) and add the bay leaf. Sauté until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic & saute until fragrant, about another 30 seconds. Add the lemon juice, zest, chicken stock. Bring to a boil & add the orzo, stirring occasionally.
- Cook uncovered, stirring constantly - this will release the starch in the soup and help thicken it. Cook until the orzo is just al dente - depending on the brand 6-9 minutes. Remove from heat and add the chicken and cream & heat thru. Remove the bay leaf & adjust seasonings if necessary (may need a bit more salt & pepper). It's ready to serve!
* If you like a really thick stew rather than soup, increase the amount of pasta to 1/2 cup.