One of the things I miss most about living in the Midwest is that chill in the air when fall first arrives. I was downright giddy when I was in Michigan a couple of weeks ago and I stepped outside to find that the air was actually crisp. It’s been so long since I’ve felt that, I’d almost forgotten how wonderful it is! Down here in Georgia, we’re still waiting for that crisp, cool air and I’m beginning to think it may never come. I know, I won’t be complaining when my family and friends are slammed with snow and ice come January, but there is something to be said for having four completely different seasons. I miss fall the most.
Last week, we had our first rainy day in ages. It was truly gloomy out and I was THRILLED. I think the grass outside was pretty happy, too. I jumped at the opportunity to make soup for dinner! I chose a Lemon Chicken Soup recipe out of Ellie Krieger’s cookbook The Food You Crave. This is a twist on Avgolemono, a Greek lemon soup I loved to warm up with when I lived up north. This is a great, quick recipe for a busy night.
You start by quickly browning up some chicken and then softening some onion, celery, carrot and fresh thyme. You can use dried thyme, if you like. You’ll just need to add a little less than you would if it were fresh.
After the veggies are softened up, you add some broth and the orzo. While the orzo cooks, you’ll need to warm up a little more broth in a small saucepan. While the little pan of broth is warming up, go ahead and whisk those eggs.
Gradually whisking the warmed broth into the eggs and juice before you add them to the main pot helps you avoid an eggy catastrophe, of sorts. It brings the eggs up to temperature so you’ll end up with a creamy, thickened soup and not chunky scrambled egg soup. After adding this mixture to the big pot, you’re done!
In her book, Ellie Krieger described this soup as “kind of like a girl-next-door chicken noodle soup that’s traveled abroad and returned with an intriguing flair.” She described it to a tee. In about 20 minutes you can change-up your every day chicken noodle soup routine and serve up a delicious bowl of something new to help warm up a chilly day. Why not give it a try?
Adapted from Ellie Krieger
- 4 tsp. olive oil
- 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into very small chunks
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup orzo (rice shaped) pasta
- 2 large eggs
- 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- lemon zest to garnish, if desired
- In a medium-sized soup pot, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil over medium high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add it to the pot, stirring until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate and set to the side.
- Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil to the same pot. Add the chopped onion, celery, carrot and thyme and stir over medium-high heat until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add 5 cups of the chicken broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the orzo, reduce to a simmer, and let cook until the orzo is tender, about 8 minutes. Turn the heat down to low to keep the soup very hot, but not boiling.
- In a small saucepan, heat the remaining 1 cup of chicken broth until it is very warm, but not boiling. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the eggs. Gradually whisk in the fresh lemon juice. Then, slowly add the hot broth to the egg mixture, whisking the entire time. Add this mixture to the soup, stirring until the soup thickens up just a bit. Do not let the soup come back up to a boil. Add the cooked chicken back to the soup to warm it up. Season with salt, pepper and lemon zest.