Tuesday, September 6, 2011

KQJ's Take On Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup (who needs Italian Wedding soup?)

I'm not much of a soup maker. I wish that I was. I usually buy Amy's Organic Tomato soup, heat it in a pot, and hit it with a splash of hot sauce. Jerry, the chef at Heavenly Temptations, makes the best soups; I used to live on them. I also like King's (supermarket) Mexican Meatball soup. Truly, though, I'd like to be able to make my own soup, so that I know exactly what's going into it. It seems so hard to make soup that actually tastes good, though. Maybe I've just never really tried. Once, I was given the recipe for Italian Wedding soup, but I just couldn't take reading the word "wedding" the whole time, while standing alone in my kitchen. It just kept poking at me (wedding poke wedding poke) until I scrapped the whole thing. So when I saw a recent facebook post about making orzo soup, well, I thought it was time to try again, and I asked for the recipe.

The post, by Kim Quade Janssen, said "Recreating Panera's Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup. Feels like Fall! Wild Mushroom Soup later today!"

I am ready for fall. I am ready to curl up in front of the fire in a big sweater, and eat a bowl of hot soup while a football game plays on the television. The recipe looks easy enough, and sounds delicious. Apparently, more than one person asked Kim for the recipe, so she sent it in a private message to us. I asked her if I could repost the whole thing, and she kindly obliged. Thank you Kim! (Call me crazy, but now I want that Wild Mushroom soup recipe she mentioned.) Readers, enjoy this recipe. xox DG

Hello Ladies, Thanks for asking about my soup endeavor! Since we have had no power for four days, and had to throw away the contents of our fridge and freezer, my family had been doing a lot of eating out. 

One day around lunchtime, when Penny fell asleep in the car, the kids and I ventured up to the Panera drive-through for a quick lunch. This is where I had my first taste of the Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup. I love soup, and would eat it everyday if I could (probably would help with my weight loss goals; especially if I stuck with soups with clear broths like this one). I am really thinking about eating this soup everyday for lunch for the next month, and see if I get any results.

Okay, enough of that nonsense... So, with the fridge fully restocked with "healthy choices", I decided to try to mimic Panera's version. It is embarrassingly simple, and oh so yummy!

  • 6 or 7 cups of chicken broth (I made mine by boiling a roasted chicken carcass)
  • 1 chopped carrot
  • About 2 handfuls of chopped onion
  • About 1 cup of chopped kale (I think Panera uses spinach)
  • 2 big "pinches" of fresh chopped basil
  • 1 pinch of oregano
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 cup of orzo pasta
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 cup of chicken (I used the leftover meat from the rotisserie chicken)
Again, this is so easy, but it came out well...

Put all of the ingredients (except lemon and orzo) in a large stock pot for about 30 minutes on medium heat. I like to cook the pasta separately, to be sure it isn't overcooked (al dente).

Add cooked orzo and lemon juice to the pot, and cook on low heat for another 10 minutes. (I cooked mine for an hour or so, but the taste seemed to be the same).

That's it! I wish I could say that this recipe were more tricky or interesting (hee hee). But, that's the whole deal!  Kim Quade Janssen


  1. Yummmm! I WILL be trying this. Years ago I made a zuchini and orzo soup that had similar ingredients....but this tops that. Can't wait to try it!

  2. Perfect day to make it, with all this rain.

  3. I'm not a big fan of kale~it was great with the spinach. Thank you for sharing!