This recipe for Lemony Chicken Orzo Soup with fresh dill is inspired by Spring. It’s brothy, flavorful and nourishing and totally addicting! Give it a try and see what you think. The best part is it makes good use of the left over whole chicken, or rotisserie chicken from last night’s dinner.
Brian and I devoured a whole roasted chicken last night. We did a good job of picking through most of it, but there was still a little meat on the bones. I always feel wasteful throwing out the carcass and so it has become a tradition to make soup out of the remains, boiling down the left over bird into a rich flavorful stock. This way we get two meals out of one chicken.
As you can see here, there is not a whole lot of chicken left. But surprisingly there is enough for a good pot of soup. Just be sure you have at least one cup of meat. It will surprise you…. how much more you get.
But the amazing flavor comes from simmering the leftover chicken and bones in water. After a couple hours, this turns into the most aromatic flavorful broth. I would be fine, just drinking this.
The addition of toasted coriander seeds, gives the soup depth and interest.
Crush the toasted seeds with a mortar and pestle. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can place them in a ziplock back on the counter and roll a rolling pin over them. They don’t need to be super fine, just coarsely crushed.
You will need 1/2 cup of fresh Lemon juice and 1 T of lemon zest. This ends up being about 3 med sized lemons. Before you cut your lemons, roll them firmly on the counter applying pressure with your palm, softening them. This will allow you to extract more juice.
Lemony Chicken Orzo Soup with Dill
A spring-inspired chicken soup – Lemony Chicken Orzo Soup with Dill, made with leftover chicken.
- Prep Time: 20
- Cook Time: 40
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 6-8
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Northwest
- 1 left-over roasted chicken with at least 1-2 cups meat left on it.
- 10 cups water
- 2 Bay leaves
- 2 tsp salt, more to taste
- 1 Cup diced onion or leek
- 1 Cup diced celery
- 1-2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tsp toasted coriander seed ( or ground is fine)
- ¼-1/2 Cup lemon juice ( 2 lemons) and zest from 1-2 lemons (1 tablespoon)
- 1 cup dry orzo ( If you want thicker soup you could add 1/2 – 1 cup more orzo. Basically, if you are serving all the soup right away, use more orzo. If you are saving some soup for the next day, the orzo will quadruple in size leaving you with no broth. Up to you.)
- ¼ cup chopped dill
- Garnish: Dollop Sour Cream and sprig of dill
Pour 10 cups water over chicken carcass w/ 2 bay leaves and 2 tsp salt and simmer covered for 1 hour. (You could do this ahead and store in the fridge over night.)
Strain over a large bowl, reserving stock and meat. Let cool. With your fingers, separate meat from the bones, discarding the bones, and breaking up the meat into smaller bite size pieces. You should have 1-2 cups of chicken meat left. With your fingers, double and triple check for small bones.
In a heavy bottom pot, sauté onion in oil til tender, about 5 minutes. Add celery. Once celery is tender add in the chicken stock and the chicken meat. Toast your Coriander seeds and crush them and add them to the soup along with lemon zest. Bring to a simmer.
Add Orzo and let simmer uncovered stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes. At this point soup will still seem pretty brothy, but it will thicken up.
Once the orzo is cooked through, add a 1/4 C chopped fresh dill and juice from one lemon. Taste and add more salt and lemon to taste. Serve in a bowls with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of fresh dill.
If you want thicker soup you could add 1/2 – 1 cup more orzo. Basically, if you are serving all the soup right away, use more orzo. If you are saving some soup for the next day, the orzo will quadruple in size leaving you with no broth. Up to you.
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