This recipe for Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup is the first in a series of homemade soup recipes that will be published on Summer Kitchen Creations this month. For this recipe and more soup recipes visit my Pinterest Soup & Stew Board and follow me on Pinterest.
Outside the air feels raw and damp.
The sun is hidden by the clouds and the wind is gently blowing.
It is the first chilly day of the fall season!
You want to serve your family a meal that will be both nourishing and takes away the chill. Who doesn’t love the warmth that chicken noodle soup provides on such a day?
Learning to make one simple chicken noodle soup recipe is essential for any home cook. After you learn the basics of making a chicken noodle soup, you will easily be able to make variations of the soup by changing out the flavors and noodles in your recipe. Today, I’m sharing my go-to chicken noodle soup recipe – Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup.
I love the simplicity of the ingredients and how quickly this recipe comes together. My husband, Dan, loves the flavor of the soup which is loaded with tender pieces of chicken. The addition of fresh lemon juice gives the soup broth a bright, refreshing flavor. And because the soup is loaded with nutritious, fresh vegetables, you can feel good serving a bowl of soup as a meal.
Chicken Noodle Basics
The basics of any chicken noodle soup begin with picking the type of chicken, noodle and the flavor you are looking to impart.
I usually make a chicken based soup recipe with either boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs. The thighs impart a richer chicken flavor than the chicken breast, but I find Dan doesn’t notice a difference in the overall taste of the soup if I use one or the other chicken part. Typically, I use the type of chicken that is on sale that week to help keep to my grocery budget. You can also substitute leftover roasted chicken in any chicken noodle soup recipe. To use roasted chicken simply skip the chicken browning steps in a recipe.
Next, you should consider what pasta to use. For this recipe, you will be using a small pasta noodle. The recipe calls for Orzo, but you can switch it out with any small noodle like Ditalini or Ditali. I like to use whatever small pasta is in the pantry instead of buying a special box for one recipe.
Basic chicken noodle soups can be flavored with various spices to vary the flavor of your soup. With Lemon Chicken Orzo, I use fresh or dried thyme. I also use freshly squeezed lemon juice to provide a punch of refreshing acidity to the soup which makes the soup taste light and refreshing.
Now, let’s get on to the real work and create a simple chicken noodle soup from scratch!
Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
Time: 30 minutes
1 lb. chicken
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup carrot, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 tsp. dried thyme or 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
8 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup orzo
1 cup fresh spinach
1/3 cup fresh, squeezed lemon juice
salt & pepper
Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil in a dutch oven. Add 1 pound of chicken. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of thyme on the chicken and turn the piece over immediately. Sprinkle the other side of the chicken with another 1/2 teaspoon of thyme. Brown chicken for about 10 minutes over medium heat turning it over once.
While chicken is browning, dice the onion, carrots, and celery. Add the diced vegetables to the pot after the chicken has cooked about 10 minutes. Cook the vegetables for 10 minutes over medium heat. Stir the mixture occasionally.
If the chicken is not already cut into bite-size pieces, remove the chicken from the Dutch oven and cut it into bite-size pieces. Then add the chicken back to the vegetable mixture.
After the vegetables cook for 10 minutes, add 8 cups of chicken broth. Turn the burner to high and bring the broth to a boil.
After the broth begins to boil, add the orzo. Cook the orzo for 6 minutes until orzo is al dente.
Turn off the burner and add the spinach and lemon juice. Stir the soup.
Finally, season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.
Serving Your Family
I like to serve the soup with a side salad or a piece of homemade bread to round out the meal. A bowl of piping hot Lemon Chicken Orzo soup will have your family craving more soup for days to come!
What is your go-to noodle soup recipe?