My lemon chicken soup made with lots of garlic and ginger has all the comforting feels, plus it’s a darned easy weeknight meal ~ chicken noodle soup never tasted this good!
lemon chicken soup with orzo is soothing yet invigorating!
The warm chicken broth lulls you, the tiny little orzo pasta and buttery leeks comfort you, but then the fresh ginger and lemon come along to shake it all up.
what you’ll need
- chicken broth or stock ~ I find that organic broths and stocks have more flavor, but that’s just my observation.
- chicken ~ I plucked the meat from a rotisserie chicken to make things easy. I don’t know if you can see from the photos but I intentionally loaded the soup with chicken to make it meal-worthy. Confession: I prefer the flavor and texture of a rotisserie chicken to simmering my own chicken for this soup. Go figure.
- orzo ~ this delicate rice shaped pasta is perfect for soups. It doesn’t bloat up like rice does as it sits in the broth. That’s a good thing because I like to eat this for days.
- olive oil ~ good quality extra virgin provides flavor and a little satisfying fat to this lean soup. You could even add a pat or two of butter if you like.
- garlic ~ I minced 4 cloves, using my garlic press because I hate to chop garlic.
- ginger ~ fresh ginger, and lots of it, is one of the keys to this soup. If you always forget to buy fresh ginger, buy it once and freeze it in chunks so you’ll always have it. Just slice it into fine julienned pieces. Again, the key is to use enough of the stuff, enough so you can really taste it in the finished soup.
- leeks ~ they’re beautiful and buttery, but use onion if you prefer.
- celery ~ I’m obsessed with celery this winter, I love to feature it in recipes like this where it doesn’t have to compete with a lot of other ingredients. I cook the soup minimally so it retains a soft crunch.
- lemon ~ there’s really only a splash of lemon in this soup, but you can absolutely tell the difference. I add a little bit, then taste. If it tastes flat, I add a little bit more. You’ll know when you hit the magic amount, that touch of acidity brings everything alive.
- fresh dill ~ this is optional, but it adds to the fresh feeling of this soup. You can use parsley, basil, or nothing.
- salt ~ you need to add enough, but not too much. The amount you add will depend on how salty your stock or broth is to start with. Trust your taste buds on this.
why this soup works
I see two scenarios for this soup ~ one, you’re looking for a comforting weeknight meal that the whole family will love but you’re short on time and ingredients. Or two, somebody in the house is under the weather and needs some comforting sustenance. In both cases it’s a win because it comes together so quickly but doesn’t taste like the same old chicken soup we’ve had a thousand times before. Something as simple as adding ginger and lemon makes that difference.
what we serve with lemony chicken soup
As soups go, this one is almost stew-like because I really pack it full of veggies and chicken. What I mean to say is, you won’t go hungry even if you decide to serve it solo.
- biscuits are perfect with soup, whether you go with the standard biscuit or something a little different like buckwheat or masa harina biscuits. I’ll look the other way if you decide to go with something from a can 🙂
- Quick rolls
- Soda bread
- Easy Dutch oven bread
Lemony Chicken Soup with Orzo
- 4 leeks
- 4 stalks celery
- breast meat from a rotisserie chicken
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 Tbsp heaped, ginger, finely sliced or julienned
- 64 ounces (8 cups) good quality chicken broth or stock
- 1/2 cup orzo, raw
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- several sprigs of fresh dill, fronds only
- Trim the leeks and slice them lengthwise. Remove any tough outer leaves, then slice into half moons. Put them in a large bowl of cold water and give it a good swish. Any dirt will sink to the bottom and you can then gently scoop the leeks out to drain on paper towels.
- Trim and slice the celery, and shred your chicken.
- Heat the olive oil in a large heavy soup pot until hot. Add the garlic and ginger and saute over medium heat for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly. Don't let the garlic brown.
- Add the leeks and celery to the pot and saute, stirring often, for a few minutes, until the leeks soften.
- Add the stock and chicken to the pan. Bring up to a simmer and then add the orzo. Gently simmer until the orzo is just tender.
- Taste the soup and add salt and pepper to taste. Then add lemon juice to taste. Start with a tablespooon and go from there.
- Stir in the fresh dill and serve immediately.