Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup



Servings: 6


20 minutes


30 minutes

Ready in: 50 minutes



1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 cups chopped carrots (about 3 large)

1 1/2 cups chopped celery (about 3 stalks)

1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (1 medium)

5 cloves garlic, minced

7 cups chicken broth

1 parmesan rind, plus shredded parmesan for serving

1 1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp each dried basil, thyme, and rosemary

1 cup (6 oz) dried orzo pasta

1 1/2 tsp lemon zest

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, or more to taste

5 oz (5 packed cups) fresh spinach, roughly chopped



Place chicken on a cutting board, cover with plastic wrap, and pound evenly to about 1/2-inch thickness. Dab chicken dry with paper towels and season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. 

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large enameled cast iron pot over medium-high heat. Add chicken and sear on both sides until browned, about 2 - 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate leaving oil in a pan. 

Add carrots, celery, and onion and saute until nearly softened about 6 to 8 minutes. Move veggies to the side, add garlic and saute for 1 minute. 

Pour in chicken broth, add parmesan rind, oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Return chicken to pot and bring to a simmer. 

Add orzo, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer stirring occasionally, for about 4 - 8 minutes or until chicken is cooked through (it should register 165 degrees in the center on an instant-read thermometer). 

Remove parmesan rind and chicken and transfer chicken to a cutting board. Let chicken rest for 3 to 5 minutes then cut into very small cubes, about the length of the orzo. Meanwhile, continue to cook the soup until the orzo is tender a few minutes longer.

Return chicken to soup along with lemon juice, lemon zest, and spinach, and heat through. Serve warm with parmesan cheese. Note that as the soup rests the pasta will absorb the broth so you can as a little more broth as desired.

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