Lemony Chicken Orzo Soup with Dill, a healthy flavorful soup made with leftover chicken or fee free to use chicken breast and chicken stock. Bright and springy, this soup is tangy and delicious!
This recipe for Lemony Chicken Orzo Soup with fresh dill is inspired by spring. It’s still cold out but the bright and zesty flavors of this soup, sing of what’s to come. Brothy, flavorful and nourishing and this soup is totally addicting! Give it a try and see what you think. The best part is it makes good use of the leftover 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 1-2 cups of meat. It will surprise you…. how much more you get.
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.
Also know that you can make this using chicken breast and store-bought chicken stock, for a faster version! ( see the recipe notes!)
Here is what chicken soup looks like around the globe:
- In France, typical seasonings include bay leaves, fresh thyme, dry white wine and garlic.
- In Germany homemade chicken soup consists of chicken broth with dumplings or spatzle added to it.
- In Greece, chicken soup is thickened with mixture of eggs and lemon and is called Avgolemono.
- China has their version with the addition of ginger, soy sauce, rice wine and sesame oil.
- In Columbia, they have a chicken soup called Ajiaco. Along with chicken, Ajiaco typically includes corn and potatoes, garnished with avocado and a dollop of cream. Doesn’t that sound good?
- Chicken soup is a traditional dish in the Jewish kitchen.There are several versions but one version is prepared with herbs like parsley, dill or thyme and served with matzah balls.
- Samgyetang is a Korean chicken soup with Korean ginseng, dried jujube fruits, garlic, ginger, rice and sometimes other medicinal herbs.
- In Mexico, Sopa de Lima, is flavored with fresh lime, Mexican oregano and fresh cilantro.
- The Polish version of chicken soup is served with fine noodles and sometimes ground almonds in the broth.
- Another version from Scotland that has become popular is called cock-a-leekie, flavored with… you got it, leeks. 🙂
Here, 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 Tablespoon 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.
Meyer Lemons are especially nice here. 😉
Lemony Chicken Orzo Soup with Dill- a simple easy recipe that can be made with leftover chicken. Healthy, zesty and flavorful!
- 1 left-over roasted chicken with at least 1-2 cups meat left on it. ( Or sub 1 lb chicken breast and 8 cups chicken stock-see notes)
- 10 cups water
- 2 Bay leaves
- 2 tsp salt, more to taste
- 1 onion or leek, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, rough chopped
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1–2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tsp toasted coriander seeds ( or ground is fine)
- ¼–½ Cups fresh lemon juice ( from 2 lemons) and zest from 1–2 lemons (1 tablespoon) Meyer lemons are nice.
- 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, more for garnish
- Garnish: Dollop Sour Cream (optional) 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.) See notes if using chicken breasts and stock.
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, over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, celery and carrots. 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 10-15 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. You want to taste the lemon! Serve in a bowls with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of fresh dill.
If you want thicker soup you could add ½ cup – 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. 😉
If making soup with chicken breast and chicken stock:
In a heavy bottom pot, over medium heat, sauté onion in oil until tender and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, celery and carrots and continue sautéing 3- 4 more minutes. Add 8 cups chicken stock, the breasts (cut in half) 2 bay leaves, and bring to a simmer, simmering gently, covered until chicken is cooked through and pulls apart easily with two forks, about 20 minutes. In the mean time, toast the Coriander seeds and crush them and add them to the soup along with lemon zest. Add orzo and let simmer uncovered stirring occasionally for about 10 more minutes or until orzo is done. Season with salt and pepper. At this point soup will still seem pretty brothy, but it will thicken up ( see notes) 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. You want this lemony! Serve in a bowls with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of fresh dill.
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