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Sunday, January 4, 2009

greek orzo, lemon and chicken soup

chicken orzo lemon soup

After my last post about caramelized shallot mac-and-cheese, one AHB reader reminded me that more new year's resolutions are about eating healthier, not necessarily eating more mac-and-cheese. So, I found a great option in my "New England Soup Factory" cookbook. This broth-based soup is full of protein, and the spinach packs in fiber, iron and vitamins, while the lemon adds flavor without a lot of calories. You can go back for a second (or third) bowl and not feel guilty.

Grocery list: 10 cups chicken stock (will include instructions for making this at home below), 3/4 cup orzo, 4 eggs, 3 lemons, 1 cups chopped cooked chicken, 1 pound fresh spinach. For chicken stock, you'll need a 2-3 each yellow onions, carrots and celery stalks, bay leaves, a few sprigs of thyme, half a bunch of parsley, 5 garlic cloves, a

handful of whole peppercorns, and 2-3 pounds chicken thighs (bone-in and skin-on).

making chicken stock

To make chicken stock, put all the ingredients in a large stock pot and cover with water. (Peel the carrots and slice into 2-3 inch pieces; chop the celery into thirds; peel the garlic cloves and add whole to the pot.) In addition to the 2-3 pounds chicken thighs, you can add a whole chicken breast (skin-on and bone-in too), but instead of leaving it in for the full 3 hours, you can remove it when it's cooked for 30-40 minutes. This is the chicken you can pull off the bone and then cube to use in the soup. If you were to leave it in for the full 3 hours, it would probably be too tough to use in the soup.

making chicken stock

Bring the stock to a slow boil over medium high heat, then turn down the heat to a simmer. If you opt to cook the chicken for cubing this way, remove it with tongs from the stock pot and allow to cool a bit, then peel the meat away from the bones. Return the bones and the skin back to the pot, so it can continue adding its flavor to the stock. Add more water over time if the stock cooks down. Simmer for at least 3 hours. Allow to cool, then strain in a mesh strainer. You can freeze extra stock in ziploc bags too.

lemon zest and juice

Now, for the soup. Measure 10 cups of your homemade stock into a large soup pot, and heat over high heat to boiling. While the stock is heating, zest 2 of the 3 lemons. Juice all 3 lemons. When the stock is boiling, add the orzo and stir. Cook for 5 minutes.

adding egg to chicken stock

Beat 4 eggs together, then slowly pour into the stock pot while stirring constantly.

adding egg to chicken stock

The egg will cook immediately into little fluffy string shapes.

chicken lemon zest spinach

Add the cooked chicken, lemon zest, lemon juice and fresh spinach to the pot, and bring the soup back to a gentle boil.

chicken soup greek lemon

When the spinach has wilted, turn the heat off, and season the soup with salt and pepper.


Erica Brescia said...

This looks incredible! I've been eating what my family calls 'Greek Wedding soup' which is very similar (spinach, lots of lemon/zest, chicken broth, onions, spaetzle and you put some shredded mozzarella in the bottom of the bowl before adding the soup.) This recipe looks great because it has more protein than my version. I look forward to trying it. Thanks for the great post and photos!

Beana803 said...

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! This looks delicious, and I really appreciate the feed back. I'll definately give this a try. Maybe this weekend!

KT said...

Erica - I love the idea of putting shredded mozzarella in the soup! I'll try that next time. It's healthy enough it can stand a little extra fat in it right?? :)

Beana803 - you're so welcome. I have been working on a few things this week, mostly healthier options, as my boyfriend and I (like everyone) are trying to tighten up our eating habits at least during the weekdays. More to come!