Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

There’s a Greek restaurant in town that makes the most amazing soup.  It’s got lemon, chicken, orzo, and some veggies in it.  It finally dawned on me to search out a similar recipe to make at home, and that recipe has now become a lunchtime staple in my house.  I’m sure the soup has some sort of Greek name, but I just call it lemon chicken orzo soup.  After I get done with it, though, it rarely resembles a soup, it’s more like a pasta dish or stew.  And chicken is not required, you can use turkey or nothing at all, depending on what you have on hand.  When I made it the other day, I didn’t have celery on hand, so I used about 4 carrots which was just fine with me.  I like to make this in a big pot and then divide it up into about 5 small plastic containers, which I then freeze and thaw for lunch as needed.  It’s a really yummy lunch dish that is hearty but light, so it can be enjoyed in the winter as well as summer.

4 t olive oil, divided

8 oz chicken, medium dice

salt and pepper

1 onion, diced

2 stalks celery, sliced thin

1 carrot, diced

2 t dried thyme

6 c chicken broth, divided

1 c orzo pasta

2 eggs

3 T fresh lemon juice

 

Heat 2 t olive oil in a skillet.  Cook chicken thoroughly.  Season with salt and pepper, set aside.  In a 5 qt pot, heat 2 t olive oil.  Cook onion, celery, carrots, and thyme until tender.  Add 5 c chicken broth.  Bring to a boil, add orzo, and simmer until orzo is cooked to al dente.  In a small sauce pan heat remaining 1 c chicken broth until hot but not boiling.  In a bowl, beat eggs and lemon juice.  Slowly whisk 1 c hot broth into the eggs to temper them.  Add egg mixture to soup and stir until soup thickens.  Add cooked chicken, salt and pepper to taste.

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