In my house, we’ve all been sick since the week before Christmas. This usually happens when the weather here in central Florida acts like a yo-yo. One day it’s 80 degrees, the next day it’s 40 degrees, the next day it’s 60 degrees, then back to the low 80’s. The humidity drops or rises just enough for all us of to end up with severe colds. There’s only one cure for a severe cold: homemade chicken soup with orzo. Orzo is a small tear drop looking pasta that’s perfect for soups. A good substitute for orzo pasta is ditalini.
We like our soups thick and filled with lots of goodies like chicken, vegetables, and pasta (the best part). To make chicken soup with orzo, start by making a soup base. Add fresh carrots, chopped onion, celery, and chicken to a large stock pot and add enough water to cover the chicken completely. Make sure you add plenty of celery leaves to the broth. Generously salt the soup base. On occasion, I also add a couple of peppercorns, but I mostly just add ground pepper. Cook the chicken and the broth until the chicken is done and the vegetables are fork tender.
When the chicken is done, remove the vegetables from the broth. I usually put the chicken aside until it is mostly cool, then I break it up with my fingers into bite size pieces. Add the chicken back to the broth along with fresh carrots and celery. Simmer until the celery and carrots are tender. While the soup is simmering, cook the orzo in a separate pot. Drain well, then add to the soup. This prevents the pasta from absorbing all of the broth. Chicken soup with orzo is one of my favorite comfort foods.
Chicken Soup with Orzo Recipe
- 1 4-5 pound chicken plus 2 or 3 extra thighs or legs or backs
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 stalks celery with leaves
- 2 carrots
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 4 carrots cleaned and sliced
- Salt & pepper
- 2 cups cooked orzo pasta
Rinse chicken well. Do not remove skin. In a large stock pot, cover chicken completely with water and about one-inch more. Add two stalks of celery with leaves, 2 carrots, and onion. Salt generously. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes.
Remove pot from heat. Discard celery and carrots. Skim fat or grayish foam and discard. Remove chicken from pot. Set aside and cool completely.
Remove cooled chicken from the bone and tear into bit size pieces. Add to the broth along with the remaining carrots and celery. Simmer for about 45 minutes.
While the broth is simmering, cook pasta in a medium saucepan according to package directions. Drain well and add to soup mixture, one cup at a time. Add pepper and adjust salt as needed.