Simple Chicken Orzo Soup
Updated: Feb 26, 2022
Written by: Natalie Faella, MS, RDN, LDN | January 28, 2022
If you are like me, you spend a lot of time in the winter walking around the house saying how "freezing" you are and how you "can't believe it's SO dark out this early." Despite having lived in New England all of my life, I am appalled by these things every year.
Luckily soup — like cozy blankets and big sweaters, is something that helps me embrace the wintertime. My sister and I make my grandma's Italian wedding soup at Christmas time and Pete and I often opt for Whole Foods or Dave's Market soups for quick dinners. It's just so comforting!
While I love my grandma's soup, it is a little labor intensive — before my sister and I offered to take it over for her, she used to make it over the course of week! (Granted, she was almost 100 at that time, but still). So when I make soup I usually go for this easier, quicker option. This doesn't involve making your own broth (i.e., boiling and then deconstructing a whole chicken); I cheat and use chicken broth for this recipe. My grandma would not necessarily be proud of this, but she would understand.
This recipe makes about 4 large mason jars (~12 cups or 96oz) of soup, so sometimes I will freeze a jar or two to have at a later time. And sometimes Pete and I will go through all the jars as lunches or dinners over the course of a really cold week!
Here's the recipe:
2 Chicken Breasts
2 Large Carrots
2 Large Celery Stalks
1 Small/Medium Yellow Onion
64-oz Chicken Broth (I usually get 2 of these from Whole Foods)
1/2 lb Orzo
Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, Oregano, & Thyme
Chop veggies: peel and chop carrots into coins, and chop celery and onions (aim for pieces to be about the size of your pinky tip).
Coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil and add chopped carrots, celery, onion, salt, pepper, oregano and thyme.
Occasionally stir veggies so they don't brown and let them simmer until the carrots soften (you can stick a fork in them) and the onion slices have become translucent.
Add the chicken broth and 2 cups of water to the pot and cover.
Let broth almost get to a boil and add the chicken breasts and cover. (You can cut chicken breasts in half first to cook quicker).
Let chicken cook in broth until no longer pink inside. May take 10-15 minutes. (I usually just double check by taking a piece out and cutting in half to see if it's cooked through).
While chicken is cooking in the soup, make the 1/2 lb of orzo. (I let it overcook slightly just so it doesn't absorb/take away so much of the broth when added into the soup).
Back to the chicken: while soup is on low heat, shred cooked chicken breasts into pieces about the size of your finger/thumb. Then cut into smaller chunks (about thumb-tip sized - see video below).
Add chicken pieces and cooked orzo into soup. Add additional salt, pepper, oregano, and thyme to taste.
Cozy up and enjoy!
This soup is great on it's own or with a nice toasted piece of sourdough bread to dip or side of grilled cheese.
Stay tuned for more recipes and more on my anti-diet approach to nutrition, health & wellness by subscribing here. And check out my soup-making process below!
Shredding & chopping the cooked chicken:
2 big and 1 smaller mason jar filled here because we had already dug in! : )