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Thursday, November 1, 2012

homemade chicken + orzo soup

chicken soup 3

when the weather (that again!) finally catches up to you, and slips past your best sickness defenses, fret not, for here is a recipe versatile enough to accommodate the most picky of palettes but warm & soothing enough to combat the seasonal aches. my beloved fell ill recently, what started out with a murmured tickle in his throat metamorphasized into a full blown cold.

i have never been known to be sympathetic to illness, in fact, he previously declared me "the shittiest nurse in the world". this time i endeavored to overturn such a damning title. tasked with soothing his overly-warmed brow i set about clearing the fridge of scraps of vegetables and herbs, and finally grabbing the bag of chicken bones from the freezer to make a hearty stock, which is the base for this soup.

i never make the same stock every time, but the premise is the same: in a crock pot add in a gallon full bag of chicken bones that you've hopefully been collecting/saving, 2 bay leaves, palm-full of peppercorns, 2 cinnamon sticks, 12 cloves, and whatever random herbs like thyme or even rosemary. add water to cover, healthy sprinkle of salt, set to low and ignore overnight. you can then divide into containers to freeze or use immediately. just be sure to skim off the fat on top (if you're not using) and to strain the liquid thru a cheese cloth.

this is a very simple soup, it satisfies hunger but also works to fortify the system. your body is a perishable commodity, protect it from the coming season's onslaught while still reveling in what it has to offer. stay healthy friends!

also, we were lucky and blessed in that Hurricane Sandy passed over us with minimal damage to our home. i wish we could say the same for our friends/neighbors/fellow humans up along the east coast, particularly down in the eastern shore, nyc and jersey areas. any discomfort and inconvenience i am experiencing is trivial compared to their loss and my thoughts are with those affected by the storm. take good care, dear friends.

homemade chicken + orzo soup

homemade stock, or canned
3 large carrots, skinned & diced
3 large celery stalks, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
1/2 container of dried orzo pasta
olive oil
shredded chicken, i used an already made kosher rotisserie chicken
2 TBL raw cider vinegar (optional)

in a big pot heat up some olive oil. in layers, add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic. season each layer with salt & pepper. this is important as the stock has minimal seasoning. when the carrots have softened a smidge and the onions are turning translucent add the stock.

bring to a brisk boil, at high.

add the orzo pasta. lower temp to maybe medium high. it should take about 7-9 minutes for the orzo to cook thru. this is a big pot of soup that you will not finish in one sitting, unless you have plenty of people over dinner, so the subsequent bowls you'll have will have overdone or even mushy orzo but don't worry, it's still good.

season according to taste, add in the cider vinegar if using

in a bowl, ladle the soup in and top with as much shredded chicken as you want. personally, when i have a cold i like to sweat it out and adding a bit of heat to soup does that. i added a healthy sprinkling of sriracha to my bowl and it was fantastic.


  1. This soup is perfect for the autumn weather. I like it :)

  2. Lan, this looks like the perfect way to feed a cold. Hope DW is on the mend.

  3. Nothing compares to homemade soup this time of year. Yours looks irresistible! Orzo is the perfect grain for soaking up all that gorgeous stock.

    Also, I think you and I may have attended the same nursing school. :D

  4. I love chicken soup in any form, and this is a great recipe! Will probably try it after the weekend. Hope the damage caused by the storm is repaired quickly. Our part of CT was spared but looking at the destruction everywhere else had me praying that the affected regions recover soon.

    1. there is just something so homey about chicken soup. i am so glad you were not horribly affected by the storm!

  5. "the shittiest nurse in the world" ? I thought I had claim to that title. LOL The soup sounds incredible and I love orzo. Never thought of putting cinnamon or cloves in my chicken stock. Hope your beloved is feeling better soon.

    1. if you want, we can fight for the title! :)

      the addition of cinnamon & cloves is very reminiscent of pho broth, which to me has life saving powers.

  6. I love homemade soup, this looks like pure comfort!

  7. Lovely ! The soup looks so thick & creamy.. so savory & perfect for this Christmas (Winter) Season.

  8. this looks great.. perfect for the cold days we're having.