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Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo

Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo
Photo by Christopher Hirsheimer and food styling by Melissa Hamilton


Once, years back, I had to test a slew of soup recipes, so I threw a soup party with huge pots bubbling away on the stove and small serving cups so everyone could to taste each one. This Greek-style soup is the one  nobody could stop talking about. My guests all fell in love with its thyme-scented, thick, lemony broth, delicate orzo (a rice-shaped pasta), and meaty chunks of chicken. It’s no wonder this Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo is one of my most popular recipes to this day. 


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 of 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 (Mono Fat 6g, Poly Fat 1g, Sat Fat 2g); Protein 26g; Carb 22g; Fiber 2g; Cholesterol 139mg; Sodium 291mg

Excellent Source of: niacin, phosphorus, potassium, protein, 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

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