Polly Conner & Rachel Tiemeyer's Lemon-Chicken Soup with Orzo

The authors of From Freezer to Cooker share a comforting, slow-cooker twist on the classic chicken noodle soup

Photo: Jennifer Causey

The authors of From Freezer to Cooker share a comforting, slow-cooker twist on the classic chicken noodle soup

Polly Conner & Rachel Tiemeyer’s Lemon-Chicken Soup with Orzo

1 Tbsp. olive oil or avocado oil
2 cups chopped carrots (from 2 to 3 carrots)
1 cup chopped yellow onion (from 1 onion)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided
3/4 tsp. black pepper, divided
2 (8-oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 dried bay leaves
3/4 cup uncooked orzo
2 cups packed baby spinach, coarsely chopped
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high. Add carrots and onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in garlic, Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 1 minute.
2. Transfer vegetable mixture to a 6-quart slow cooker. Place chicken on top of mixture; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir in broth and bay leaves.
3. Cover and cook on low until chicken is cooked through and a thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 165°, about 3 hours. Transfer chicken to a cutting board, leaving cooking liquid in slow cooker.
4. Adjust slow cooker setting to high. Stir in orzo; cover and cook until orzo is al dente, about 18 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, shred or chop chicken into bite-size pieces.
5. Discard bay leaves. stir in chicken, spinach, and lemon juice. Top each serving with Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.

Quick tip! Prep ahead and freeze: Put the cooled vegetable mixture (step 1) and raw chicken, salt, pepper, broth and bay leaves (from step 2) in a large freezer bag or container. Seal and freeze. To prepare, thaw and pour soup into slow cooker, and continue recipe at step 3.

Serves: 6
Active time: 15 minutes
Total time: 3 hours, 30 minutes

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