Panera CopyCat…Lemon Orzo Soup
A perfect take on the popular Panera Lemon Chicken Orzo soup! A healthy and fresh soup bursting with bright lemony flavors and tender orzo pasta!
- 1 large onion diced
- 2 medium carrots cut into rounds or dice
- 2 stalks of celery cut into half moons
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- juice and zest of 1.5 lemons
- 1 large chicken breast shredded or diced into bit size pieces
- 8 cups of chicken broth
- 1 handful chopped Italian parsley
- 1/4 cup orzo pasta or any other small pasta like ditalini or stars
- 1 cup baby spinach leaves
- Better Than Bouillion as necessary
- salt and pepper to taste
We start simply enough with a large pot and 1 tbsp of butter in it over medium heat.
And dice up an onion. By the way, this nifty little dough cutter is also used as a chop and scoop in my house :) Chop up 2 carrots into half moons or dice and 2 celery stalks.
And add all the veggies to the pot with 3 cloves of garlic minced on a microplaner. You want them to sweat: Medium heat, covered with lid, no caremalization. Let that happen for about 15 minutes until fragrant.
Add 8 cups or 2 quarts of chicken BROTH. Notice I say broth not stock. Why? Because the broth is a much lighter and more delicate flavor. I tried this with stock and I was not as happy with the deep flavor. It would be better with homemade stock but if your only option is store bought stick to the broth.
Go ahead and add the juice and zest of 1.5 lemons. I like mine super lemony so I added in the juice and zest of 2.
Let the soup come up to a simmer. In the meantime, measure out 1/4 a cup of orzo and chop up a handful of Italian parsley.
Once the soup has reached a simmer, add the orzo and your shredded chicken to the soup. If you are using raw chicken, you can just roast off the chicken for 20 minutes on 450-degrees in the oven with the skin on and bone in sprinkled with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Then remove the skin and shred with your fingers or two forks. You can also cut into cubes. You can also just add raw chicken breast to the soup when you pour in broth. Whatever floats your soup boat :)
And then add my magic ingredient. Better Than Bouillion. I talk about it a whole load here. I put in 2 tablespoons. Just whatever you do remember, it reaches its ultimate flavor when it boils. So add, stir, allow to boil and taste. Otherwise you can end up with a pot of salt.
Once the orzo is cooked, about 15 minutes, turn the heat off. Add a cup of baby spinach and the chopped parsley.
Mix well to combine.
Don't forget to taste for seasoning and lemon.
Slurp away and kill those winter....errrr spring blues.