Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Flavorful Springtime Soup

Good evening everyone!  Spring has (finally) arrived in the Des Moines metro and I think all residents can breath a sigh of relief.  Although the trees haven't budded and the grass hasn't turned green, warmer temperatures and stable weather has brought a calm to an usually rough winter.  With spring making a triumphant entrance, the return of spring ingredients has also arrived.  Tonight, I'm making the perfect springtime soup, filled with fresh flavors that are light to the pallet and the stomach too.

The Recipe:  Lemony Chicken and Orzo Soup
Original Recipe Found In: Bon Appetite Magazine, April 2013

What You'll Need:
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 medium Leek, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
1 Celery stalk, sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
12 Ounces boneless, skinless Chicken Thighs
6 Cups low-sodium Chicken Broth
1/2 Cup Orzo
1/4 Cup chopped fresh Dill
Lemon halves (for serving)

To start, heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat.  Add the leak and celery and cook until softened and stirring often, about five to eight minutes.  Add the chicken and the broth to the pot, season with salt and pepper.  Bring the contents of the pot to a boil.  Once at a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cover with a lid.  Simmer until the chicken is cooked completely through, about 15 to 20 minutes or, with a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees.  Transfer the chicken to a clean plate.  Let the chicken cool and shred into bite size pieces.

Meanwhile, return the broth in the pot to a boil.  Add the orzo and cook according to package directions or until al dente, about eight to ten minutes.  Once the orzo is done cooking, immediately remove the pot from the heat.  Stir the chicken back in and add the dill.  If you are using dried dill (in which you'll need a tablespoon of dried spice,) you may find you'll only need half of a tablespoon.  Of course, you can add more, if you want more dill flavor to your soup.  Serve, with the lemon halves to squeeze over the soup, and enjoy!

The End Result:

This might be the best and quintessential spring inspired soup.  All the ingredients are incredibly light, but they all work together harmoniously to give the soup a well rounded flavor.  The leeks and celery cook down, so as to not overpower with a vegetable flavor.  The chicken, infused with the broth, doesn't have a strong poultry flavor.  Also, the dill, surprisingly, won't hit your tastebuds with an herby punch.  The lemon might be the only ingredient that shines on its own in the soup.  While I preferred a hint of lemon in my soup, Tyler was squeezing the lemon dry and he loved it in his dish.  I would definitely recommend using the lemon at your discretion:  try the soup, if you want more flavor, add the lemon; if you enjoy that lemon flavor, add more until your hearts content.  Overall, a great soup that is perfect for any springtime evening.

That's all we have for you tonight.  Join us Thursday as Tyler cooks up a family favorite dish, but this recipe will be immediately added to your recipe book.  Until then,


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