Last week, I stopped into Panera Bread for lunch and since the AC was on full blast, I decided to order a soup. I know it sounds crazy to eat soup when the weather is over 90 degrees Fahrenheit outside, but there are some great summer soups out there! When I discovered that their Lemon Chicken Orzo soup was on the menu, I was instantly excited. I ordered this a lot last summer, and forgot about it for quite some time because it is a seasonal soup. Once I tasted it again, I remembered how much I loved it, and decided I must attempt to make it on my own, so I could eat it whenever I pleased, not just on the certain days Panera Bread decides to serve it. Well, if I do say so myself, my attempt was a definite success. It tastes so delicious, and my boyfriend loved it as well! Here’s my recipe:
1 rotisserie chicken (I used everything except for the wings and drumsticks in my soup), so about ½ pound of chicken…I got my rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods
4oz of uncooked orzo pasta (I used star pasta which is actually the same exact thing, just different shapes, as I mentioned in my WIAW post)
2 carrots, chopped
3 ribs of celery, chopped
½ onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
¼ cup of lemon juice
32 oz low-sodium chicken broth
1 small bay leaf
Step One: Chop up your onion, carrots, celery, and mince your garlic. Set aside.
Step Two: Bring a pot of water to a boil. I always add a pinch of salt to my water so the pasta doesn’t stick to the pot. Add orzo (or stars) to the water and cook for 5 minutes. (This is not going to be what your bag of orzo says to cook it for, but we don’t want to fully cook the orzo because it will be added to the rest of the dish later, and we don’t want to risk over cooking it.) Drain the orzo and set aside.
Step Three: In a large pot, big enough to hold all of your soup contents, heat a tiny amount of olive oil on medium heat. Add your carrots, onion, and celery, and shift around in pot for about 5 minutes. You want the veggies to begin to soften. Once they begin to soften, add the garlic and stir veggies around in pot for 2 more minutes. You’ll begin to smell the garlic fragrance. Yum!
Step Four: Add some thyme, oregano, black pepper, and your bay leaf to the veggies. I just shake my spices into the pot, so there is no exact amount that I use, but I would just say use your best judgment.
Step Five: After another minute of stirring around your veggies and spices, add your chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a boil.
Step Six: Once the mixture is boiling, cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low. Check frequently and stir often for another 7 minutes making sure to not leave the lid on the pot for too long.
Step Seven: Once the veggies seem to be tender, remove the lid, and add the lemon juice to the broth.
Step Eight: Add your orzo pasta and chicken to the broth and continue stirring.
Step Nine: Cook and stir for an additional 3 minutes to ensure the orzo and chicken are heated back up.
Step Ten: Add the spinach to the pot (I didn’t use a specific amount, so use as much as you’d like). Continue cooking until the spinach is wilted into the soup.
Step Eleven: Place your soup into a bowl and garnish with a lemon slice to add extra lemony flavor!
I absolutely loved this soup! If you want it to remain a soup for your leftovers, I recommend setting some additional chicken broth aside to add to your left overs as the orzo will soak in any stored broth once in the fridge. I, however, did not save any chicken broth, and my soup turned into an awesomely flavorful pasta dish for my lunch the next day!
I hope you try it, and if so, tell me what you think! Also, if you’re eating normal portions, this recipe serves 6.
Bows and Arrows,