Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Comfort and Joy - Toasted Orzo and Chicken Soup

I hope you guys had a lovely holiday season! I have been off line and busy cooking since we last spoke. We made the long road trip to OK to be with my family for the Christmas holiday. Throughout the week there were 17 people that I helped feed in and out of my mom's kitchen. It was total madness and lovely and I am glad to be back home to feed my family of four. I made many of our traditional dishes over the weekend like Christmas morning casserole, Italian Beef, cheesy potatoes and marinated shrimp cocktail. It was a week full of good food and fun family time.
Since we arrived home I have been caught up in a whirlwind of cleaning and un-christmas decorating and organizing. The temperature finally dropped yesterday so I thought a big bowl of soup would be the perfect thing to help sooth my soul and hopefully help the last of the sniffles go away. This is just my own spin on chicken and rice soup. I love the added splash of parsley, Parmesan and black pepper right at the end. I hope this will bring a little comfort the the end of a very joyous season!

2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (or roasted)
1/2 medium onion diced
2 celery stalks with leafs diced
1 cup carrots
2 garlic cloves, pressed or finely minced
6 cups chicken stock
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1/2 fresh lemon
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley chopped

1 cup orzo

In a small saute pan on medium heat, warm 2 tsp olive oil and 1 tbsp of butter with your orzo. Cook, stirring frequently, until your orzo has toasted, approx 8  minutes. Watch carefully as the orzo can burn quickly. It will change from the natural almond color to a brown rice color. Once it has toasted, set aside.
In a large dutch oven, warm 1 tbsp of olive oil and saute the onions, celery and carrots until translucent, around 10 minutes. Throw in the cooked orzo an garlic, chicken, stock, salt and pepper. Cover and allow the soup to simmer on medium/low heat for 25 minutes, until veggies are tender. Just before serving, squeeze in the lemon and parsley and add an additional sprinkle of black pepper, just to be safe.
Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve with a warm baguette and Caesar salad.

Enjoy Ya'll!

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