This Chicken Orzo Soup is enhanced with lemon, coriander and dill. Bright and springy, this soup is tangy, light and delicious!
- 1 left-over roasted chicken with at least 1-2 cups meat left on it. ( Or sub 8–12 ounces chicken breast and 8 cups chicken stock -see notes)
- 10 cups water
- 1 onion, quartered
- 2 Bay leaves
- 2 tsp salt, more to taste
- 1 extra large onion or 2 leeks, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, rough chopped
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1–2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon toasted coriander seeds (or 1 tablespoon ground coriander)
- 2 lemons (1/4-1/2 cup fresh lemon juice and 1 tablespoon lemon zest)
- 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.)
- 1/4 cup chopped dill, more for garnish
- Garnish: Dollop Sour Cream (optional) or creme fraiche and sprig of dill
- Pour 10 cups water over chicken carcass w/ 2 bay leaves, onion, 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. If it is bland, add more of each, or try a chicken bouillon cube as a last resort.
- Serve with a sprig of dill and a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche.
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. 😉 You can always, cook the sorzo separately, keep it separate until serving.
If making soup with chicken thighs ( Bone in, skin on works great) or chicken breasts. Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a heavy bottom pot, over medium-high heat, brown the chicken in olive oil, on each side til golden and fragrant, then set aside (no need to cook through). In the same pot sauté onion in oil until tender and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, celery and carrots and continue sautéing 3- 4 more minutes. Add 8 cups chicken stock, add the bay leaves, 2 teaspoons salt, and the chicken and bring to a simmer, scraping up the brown bits, simmering gently, uncovered until the chicken is cooked through and pulls apart easily with two forks, about 20-30 minutes.
In the meantime, toast the Coriander seeds and crush them and add them to the soup along the orzo and let simmer uncovered, occasionally stirring 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 fresh dill, zest and juice from one lemon.
Taste and add more salt and lemon to taste. If it is bland, it needs both.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 198
- Sugar: 1.1 g
- Sodium: 1631.3 mg
- Fat: 8.4 g
- Saturated Fat: 2.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 13.5 g
- Fiber: 1.5 g
- Protein: 16.5 g
- Cholesterol: 99.1 mg
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