Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Note: To print recipe without the recipe index on the sidebar, scroll all the way down the bottom for the 'print page' option.


Makes about 12 servings


2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 large onion, chopped

3 ribs celery, chopped

3 - 4 carrots, peeled and diced or 1 (12 oz. bag) frozen sliced carrots, thawed

Kosher salt, pepper to taste

12 cups homemade chicken stock  (or 3 - 32 oz. cartons of low sodium chicken stock)

1 cup uncooked orzo pasta

Juice of 1 large lemon

1 (1.75 lb.) rotisserie chicken, shredded or chopped

1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley


Heat olive oil and butter in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat until butter is melted. Add chopped onion and celery.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add carrots to pot, season with salt and pepper and continue to cook until carrots soften 5 – 7 minutes.

Add chicken stock; bring to a boil. Stir in chicken; reduce heat to simmer. When chicken is warmed through, add orzo to pot, cooking until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and parsley; season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

To serve: Add a lemon slice to garnish soup and grated Parmesan cheese if desired.

Homemade Chicken Stock

Using a rotisserie chicken carcass is an easy, affordable and flavorful way to make homemade chicken stock. In addition to using something you normally throw away, you take advantage of the added seasoning and flavor from the roasted chicken, while controlling the sodium and with no added preservatives.

To 5 or 6 quart Dutch oven or stockpot add:

1 rotisserie chicken carcass, including skin and bones

Assorted veggies: Celery stalks including celery leaves; carrots; onion pieces, halves, or quarters, including onion skin; parsley with stems, parsnips

Garlic bulb, halved

2 bay leaves

8 – 10 peppercorns

Thyme sprigs

Kosher salt, 1- 2 tablespoons to start, more to taste after simmering 1 hour

Add chicken carcass, veggies, garlic, salt, peppercorns, and bay leaves to Dutch oven or stock pot. Fill pot with cold water to cover chicken. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer, with lid off of pot. Allow stock to simmer 60 – 90 minutes until stock has reduced and flavorful. Taste and add additional salt as needed towards end of cooking time. Strain solids through colander and allow chicken stock to cool. Skim and remove fat that rises to the top of the cooled stock. Transfer stock to containers and refrigerate. Use chicken stock within 3 days or freeze until ready to use.