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Toasted Orzo Chicken Soup


  • 4 cups chicken stock (32 ounces)

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast pieces or tenders

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 3/4 cup orzo pasta

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • 1 small zucchini, finely chopped

  • 1 carrot, finely chopped

  • 1/2 small red bell pepper, finely chopped

  • 2 shallots or 1 small onion, finely chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1 cup frozen peas

  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel


In a medium size pot, bring the chicken stock and chicken to a simmer. Lower the heat and poach the chicken for 12 minutes. Heat a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the butter to melt. Add the orzo and cook, stirring, until deeply toasted, 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add the EVOO, two turns of the pan, to the Dutch oven. Add the zucchini, carrot, bell pepper, shallots and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, 7-8 minutes. Return the orzo to the pot. Remove the chicken from the stock. Skim and discard the fat from the stock; transfer the stock to the Dutch oven. Chop, dice or shred the chicken and add to the soup with 2 cups water. Bring the soup to a boil and cook until the orzo is just tender, 5 minutes. Add the peas during the last minute of cooking. Turn off the heat; stir in the parsley and lemon peel. Serve immediately.