Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo (Ellie Krieger)

My first date with Richard was at Yia Yia Mary's, a Greek restaurant owned by the well known Pappas brothers, who are better known for Pappasito's and Pappadeaux. I love the food there, but didn't eat much that night because I was so involved in learning the story of the guy I'd been so curious about for the previous 6 weeks. (I should give credit where credit is due, Andy was the first person to take me there - holla!) Being the classy guy that he is, he took home the leftovers (after offering them to me). Being the smart guy that he is, he left them in his truck on that June night. Goodness knows I hate the idea of wasted food!

We have been back a couple times since then, and luckily now I can enjoy my food (and to-go boxes are rarely needed). On our last visit, he was really hungry and ordered a bowl of the Chicken Orzo Soup before his meal, which turned out to be monstrous in size. Richard had a healthy respect for orzo going into this choice, because I like to cook with it, and he was not let down because it was YUMMY! Being the smart man that he is, he suggested that I could probably make it, and it would be even better. And I do love a cooking challenge!

I googled "lemon chicken orzo soup" and came up with several hits - one of the first by one of my favorite Food Network hosts, Ellie Krieger - a DIETITIAN! Holla! Ellie is a little dry at times, but I like her show because she emphasizes the nutritional value of a meal more than how low the calorie, carb or fat content is. Her show is called "Healthy Appetites" and her cookbook is titled The Food You Crave. I checked my cookbook and there was the recipe that I had skipped over because it didn't sound that great, but I decided to give it a shot.

Here is the recipe, directly lifted from her book:
Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo

4 teaspoons olive oil
8 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into small chunks
Pinch of salt, plus more to taste
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 stalks celery, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1 medium carrot, diced (about 1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup orzo, preferably whole wheat
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with the salt, add it to the pot, and cook, stirring, a few times, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a dish and set aside.
Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the pot. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and thyme and cook, stirring, over medium-high heat until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add 5 cups of the broth and bring to a boil. Add the orzo and let simmer until tender, about 8 minutes. Turn the heat down to low to keep the soup hot but not boiling.
Warm the remaining 1 cup broth in a small saucepan until it is hot but not boiling. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs. Gradually whisk the lemon juice into the eggs. Then gradually add the hot broth to the egg-lemon mixture, whisking all the while. Add the mixture to the soup, stirring well until the soup is thickened. Do not let the soup come to a boil. Add the cooked chicken to the soup. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Makes 4 servings Serving size: 1 1/2 cups
Per serving: Calories 280; Total fat 10g (Sat fat 2g, Mono fat 6g, Poly fat 1g); Protein 26g; Carb 22g; Fiber 2g; Cholesterol 139mg; Sodium 291mg
Excellent source of: niacin, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C
Good source of: copper, folate, iodine, iron, magnesium, molybdenum, pantothenic acid, thiamin, vitamin B12, vitamin K, zinc

It was delicious! Creamy, but as you can see, no cream or butter was added! I used a whole pound of chicken thighs because that was what I had in the freezer, and just trimmed the excess fat - made it heartier. I used dried thyme and regular orzo (the whole wheat kind has been hard for me to find). Great for a cold night (like Sunday was) or a sick day! Not sure how healthy the fresh french bread was that we ate along side it, but it was good! I've also eaten it for lunch the last two days :)

What's your favorite soup recipe?

Love, B


  1. Hooray!! Welcome to the world of blogging- can't wait to read about your adventures :)

  2. Yay! Great to see you on here! This recipe sound delicious!!!

  3. Yum . .this soup sounds tasty!!! I will definitely have to give it a try. I like to make soups in my trusty ole crockpot. It usually takes about 10 mins. prep and when I get home from a LONG hard day at work, the house smells delish and dinner is ready!!!