I hope you all are staying as healthy as possible. It seems to be a rough year for illness everywhere, so I wanted to share my favorite chicken soup recipe. When I’m sick this really does help me feel better.
I’m also quite picky about my chicken soup. I have tried so many recipes over the years and I have taken my favorite elements of each and ended up with this version. I think the secrets are the orzo pasta, the leeks, and the fresh parsley, but feel free to tweak it to your liking.
Note: This recipe makes about 8 servings, but I usually just chop as many vegetables as I have then adjust the broth accordingly. It freezes well, so having too much is never a problem.
- Chicken: 2 whole or 4 split breasts (or an assortment of white and dark meat if you prefer)
- 2-3 bay leaves (optional)*
- whole black peppercorns (optional)*
- 1/2 cup orzo pasta
- 1.5-2 cups diced carrots
- 2 cups diced celery
- 1-2 cups diced potatoes
- 1.5-2 cups chipped leeks (don’t use the tough, dark green parts- light green are okay)
- 10-12 cups chicken broth*
- 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, torn or chopped
- olive oil, salt, and pepper
* I usually save the water that I boil my chicken in and either add prepared chicken broth to it, or add good-quality broth concentrate (paste or cube) to the water to make the 10-12 cups of chicken broth.
- Place the pieces of chicken in a pot of water (4-8 cups) to boil. I recommend adding a couple of bay leaves and some peppercorns to the water for flavor.
- Boil until fully cooked (15-30 minutes depending on the size). I chop my vegetables while the chicken is boiling and just toss them into one large bowl.
- Remove the chicken and set aside to cool. Once it is cool enough to touch, shred it with a fork or your fingers (or just chop with a knife).
- Strain the peppercorns and bay leaves out and pour the water into a different container if you’re using it for broth. I usually measure it and prepare the remaining broth at this point.
- Heat a large stockpot over medium-high heat, add a good drizzle of olive oil, and sauté all the veggies until they are soft (about 10 minutes).
- Pour in your chicken broth and bring to a boil then simmer on low for about 30 minutes.
- Add the chicken and orzo and simmer 10-20 more minutes or until the orzo is cooked to your preference.
- Add any pepper and salt to taste.
- Serve with fresh parsley.
Cool and freeze in freezer-safe containers as a make-ahead meal.
(I apologize for the poor quality of some of the images- our lighting situation in the new apartment isn’t ideal after the sun goes down.)