I’m sharing our favorite chicken soup recipe, ideal for cold and flu season, Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup! It uses one of my favorite short cuts, a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. Orzo, a rice-shaped pasta, fills in for traditional noodles and lemon adds a bright, refreshing note to the chicken broth that delivers on flavor!
We always keep this ‘penicillin-in-a-bowl’ in our freezer, to cure what ails you! This recipe makes a big batch and is satisfying, comforting and ideal to have on hand to pull out when you have the sniffles, fever or feeling under the weather.
My favorite short cut for this soup is using a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. Pull the meat on the chicken, shredding or chopping, to add to your soup. My grocery store sells a small 1.75 lb roasted chicken, which is less meat than you think and I use both the white and the dark. Use white meat only or chicken breasts in your soup if that’s what you prefer.
A couple of times of month when I have a leftover rotisserie chicken, I throw the carcass into a pot and use it to make a pot of homemade chicken stock. I also keep vegetable scraps in a bag in the freezer so I have them on add to add to the stock pot.
Using a rotisserie chicken carcass is an easy, affordable and flavorful way to make homemade chicken stock! In addition to using something you normally throw away, you take advantage of the added seasoning and flavor from the roasted chicken, while controlling the sodium in the stock.
Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
Makes about 12 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
3 – 4 carrots, peeled and diced or 1 (12 oz. bag) frozen sliced carrots, thawed
Kosher salt, pepper to taste
12 cups homemade chicken stock (or 3 – 32 oz. cartons of low sodium chicken stock)
1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
Juice of 1 large lemon
1 (1.75 lb.) rotisserie chicken, shredded or chopped
1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley
Heat olive oil and butter in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat until butter is melted. Add chopped onion and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add carrots to pot, seasoning veggies with salt and pepper and continue to cook until carrots soften 5 – 7 minutes.
Add chicken stock; bring to a boil. Stir in chicken; reduce heat to simmer. When chicken is warmed through, add orzo to pot, cooking until tender, about 8 – 9 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and parsley; season with salt and pepper to taste.
Homemade Chicken Stock
To 5 or 6 quart Dutch oven or stockpot add:
1 rotisserie chicken carcass, including skin and bones
Assorted veggies: Celery stalks including celery leaves; carrots; onion pieces, halves, or quarters, including onion skin; parsley with stems, parsnips
Garlic bulb, halved
2 bay leaves
8 – 10 peppercorns
Kosher salt, 1- 2 tablespoons to start, more to taste after simmering 1 hour
Add chicken carcass, veggies, garlic, salt, peppercorns, and bay leaves to Dutch oven or stock pot. Fill pot with cold water to cover chicken. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer, with lid off of pot. Allow stock to simmer 60 – 90 minutes until stock has reduced and flavorful. Taste and add salt as needed towards end of cooking time. Strain solids through colander and allow chicken stock to cool. Skim and remove fat that rises to the top of the cooled stock. Transfer stock to containers and refrigerate. Use chicken stock within 3 days or freeze until ready to use.
Feel free to alter and adjust quantities of veggies and chicken to your preference. The lemon juice addition is a must at the end! I like to make a big pot, parceling it out in 4 cup containers to freeze so it’s available to pull out when we need it. Another shortcut I like to use is frozen crinkle cut carrots, since I’m lazy, hate to peel carrots, and like how pretty the crinkles are. ;) Add a lemon slice to garnish soup and grated Parmesan cheese to serve if desired.
This is also a good snow-day soup!
Our snow started about 7 am this morning. Hope you’re staying warm & cozy. ♥