Looking for a way to use leftover baked chicken? My Greek chicken orzo soup is the perfect way to do so. It’s easy to make and will warm you up for the ultimate comfort food dish. Orzo pasta goes wonderfully with chicken, vegetables, and a bit of citrus!
I always try to make the most out of leftovers. Sure, you can simply reheat them and enjoy the same meal twice. Or, you can recreate a brand new recipe with them!
That’s how I came to try out this Greek chicken orzo soup recipe. I had a bunch of leftover baked chicken in my fridge and wasn’t in the mood for a cold chicken sandwich. I was craving something warm, hearty, and comforting. And that’s exactly what I found in this soup recipe!
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Chicken - You need to start with already-cooked chicken. I love using leftover baked Greek chicken, but you can feel free to use rotisserie or your own leftovers. You can use white or dark meat — or both!
- Onion - You’ll sauté the onion in olive oil to start in order to give your soup a flavorful base.
- Olive Oil - To cook your onion and the rest of the vegetables.
- Carrots & Celery - This soup also features some veggies! You’ll want to peel and slice your carrots and chop the celery before you get started.
- All-purpose Flour - You’ll make a simple roux with flour in order to thicken the soup a bit.
- Chicken Broth - Using broth instead of water means that you’ll have more flavor!
- Orzo - It wouldn’t be a chicken orzo soup without the orzo, of course. It looks like rice, but it’s actually pasta!
- White Wine - The addition of a bit of wine will help the other ingredients for this soup release their flavors. It’s totally optional, and keep in mind that the alcohol will burn off as it cooks!
- Lemons - If you’ve never used lemon in soup before you’ve been missing out! It complements the other ingredients perfectly.
- Red Pepper Flakes - For just a touch of heat! For those of you who are spice-averse, you can skip it.
- Oregano & Parsley - A bit of added seasoning to round out the other flavors. Use the parsley as a garnish.
- Feta Cheese - A deliciously tangy and salty topping!
HOW TO MAKE GREEK CHICKEN ORZO SOUP
1. Prepare The Ingredients. Before you get started, you need to chop the chicken, dice the onion, peel and slice the carrots, and chop the celery. Zest and juice one of the lemons. You can slice the other and set it aside.
2. Sauté The Vegetables. Use a large Durch oven or soup pot to make your Greek chicken orzo soup. Heat the olive oil on medium. Add your onion and sauté it for about 3 minutes. Then, add in the carrots and celery. Stir and continue to cook for 4 minutes. Add salt and pepper, then sprinkle in the flour in order to make your roux. Stir to mix and allow it to cook for another 3 minutes.
3. Add The Other Ingredients. If using it, pour in the wine and scrape up any bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pot. Next, add the chicken, broth, oregano, lemon zest and juice, and orzo. Stir to combine, then bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes while stirring often.
4. Garnish & Serve. Remove the soup from heat to serve! I recommend that you garnish each bowl of soup with a bit of crumbled feta cheese, chopped parsley, and sliced lemons. Enjoy!
Can You Freeze Soup With Orzo In It?
You can absolutely freeze this soup to enjoy at a later date. That said, some chefs complain that the orzo loses its texture when frozen and reheated. You can avoid all this by making the soup as instructed, just leave out the orzo! When you’re ready to eat it, make sure to let it thaw in the fridge overnight. Then, reheat on the stovetop and add in cooked orzo (you’ll have to cook it separately). That way, you don’t have to worry about it becoming mushy!
What Does Adding Lemon To Soup Do?
You may have never heard of adding citrus to soup but believe me, it’s an amazing cooking trick to have on hand! A small amount of lemon juice will brighten up whatever dish you add it to. It goes wonderfully with the chicken and vegetables in this soup and brings out the best in their flavors.
Why Is My Chicken Soup Bitter?
Taste it as you go for seasoning, but the one lemon shouldn't be too overpowering with the zest. I have also read that you could end up with bitter chicken soup if you use chicken with the bone in. If it cooks for too long, the amino acids in the bones begin to release. A pinch of salt can counter act that though. Because this chicken orzo soup recipe calls for boneless baked chicken specifically, you won’t have to worry about that here!
Greek Chicken Orzo Soup
- 2 cups chopped chicken (See Note 1)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 4 carrots peeled and sliced
- 4 ribs of celery chopped
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup dry white wine optional
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 lemons (zest one lemon and juice it. Slice the other lemon for garnish)
- 1 cup orzo pasta
- ½ cup feta cheese crumbled
- ¼ cup parsley chopped
- Chop chicken and set aside. Dice onion, peel and slice carrots and chop celery. Zest one lemon and juice it. Slice the other lemon and set aside.
- In a large Dutch oven or soup pot add the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the carrot and celery, stirring and cooking for 4 minutes.
- Add the salt, pepper and sprinkle the flour over all. Stir to mix in and cook flour, 3 minutes.
- Carefully pour in wine and scrape up bits from bottom of pot. Add chicken, chicken broth, oregano, lemon zest and juice and orzo pasta, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to low and simmer, stirring often for 20 minutes.
- Serve each bowl topped with crumbled feta cheese, chopped parsley and sliced lemons.
- I use my leftover Baked Greek Chicken, but rotisserie chicken or your own baked chicken works (white, dark or both).
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.