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Golden Chicken, Corn & Orzo Soup

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Serves five to six as a main course.

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil      
  • 2 large ribs celery, finely diced
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 qt. homemade or low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 cups finely diced or shredded cooked chicken (such as leftover roast chicken)
  • 1/2 cup orzo
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice; more to taste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Tip:
You might wonder why the orzo is cooked separately. There are two reasons. If you boiled the orzo directly in the soup, the starch from the pasta would cloud the soup broth, and the orzo would also suck up too much of the soup broth as it cooked. Boiling the pasta separately solves both of these problems.

Bring a medium saucepan of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the celery, onion, saffron, and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, add the chicken and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. While the soup simmers, cook the orzo in the boiling salted water until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain.

Add the drained orzo, corn, and parsley to the soup and cook just until the corn is heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and season to taste with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if needed.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on six servings; Calories (kcal): 250; Fat (g): 10; Fat Calories (kcal): 90; Saturated Fat (g): 2; Protein (g): 22; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 6; Carbohydrates (g): 19; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): 440; Cholesterol (mg): 40; Fiber (g): 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

This is a delicious soup. The combination of saffron and lemon is brilliant. The pop of sweetness from the corn is also good.

One of my favorite soups ever. It's delicious and refreshing-- which can be refreshing in the dead of winter. My husband is not a soup fan, but still raves about this soup. Try it; even if it's only to smell the saffron & thyme cooking in your kitchen.

I've been making this soup every year since it was first published. I buy a roasted chicken and take the meat while it's hot and use it for the soup (as opposed to left over chicken). I also vary the pasta. It's quick, healthy, tasty, and a great addition to the bachelor pad's dining menu.

My family thought this soup was mediocre at best. It was very bland and completely uninteresting. While not inedible, it is not worth making again. In fact, no one was willing to eat the leftovers and it ended up going down the disposal. Quite disappointing.

I enjoyed this recipe. Easy, quick and flavorful. I think it would also be good with carrots, peas, etc. in addition to the corn.

Easy and delicious. The kids loved it!

Great sick in bed, yet refreshing comfort soup. It is very easy to make, no special skills required. My 3 year old son loves it too! The saffron adds an extra twist.

This soup has become my favorite chicken soup to serve to my family and friends. I've rarely served it without being asked for the recipe. It recently brought extra comfort to a friend undergoing chemotherapy. Although her mouth was very sensitive because of the treatment, the soup was easy on her tongue and palate. The saffron and lemon are suttle but add delicious flavor. For extra color I add a touch of chopped carrot.

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