Well, this weekend has been a pretty rough one. Last Thursday night A came down with a upper respiratory /cold/sinus thing and it hit our poor girl hard! Needless to say it was all hands on deck for the weekend. While A was pretty much down for the count and not remotely interested in eating, J and I were in full-on survival mode (complete with pregnant hormonal mommy tears because who can really stand seeing their poor baby in such a state of discomfort?). Luckily, I had made a giant pot of Chicken and Parmesan Soup with Spinach and Orzo earlier that week!
This recipe is a variation on a recipe from Real Simple that was given to me by my friend Erica before she had to leave me for warmer weather and a pretty great food and music scene (luckily, Austin has always been on my to-visit list!). She had made a big batch for herself one day, and was gracious enough to bring me some as well.
Needless to say, I was hooked. I demanded the recipe immediately. She sent it to me but told me she made some changes to certain things based on her preferences and what she had on hand. While I don't remember exactly what she did, I also took my own liberties.
I really love that this soup is pretty simple. It's not long list of crazy, hard-to-find-ingredients, but rather the lack of mish-mosh that makes it so lovely. The addition of spinach to most anything makes me happy and the orzo adds the pasta-effect without being overbearing. Balance is key, after all!
But my favorite addition is the parmigiana rind. I found them at my grocer's cheese section- they sold me a good size container of them for $1.95. A couple small pieces of parmigiana rind adds such a savory, delicious flavor to the broth. I just could not get enough! Once the soup is done, they soften and you can pull them out. Give it a try, you'll be hooked!
Chicken and Parmigiana Soup with Spinach and Orzo
Source: Adapted from Real Simple's Chicken Stew with Couscous, Spinach and Parmesan via Erica Dawson.
- 2 Tbsp. of olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- ¼-1/2 tsp. of herbes de provence (The first time I made this, I enjoyed it with ½ tsp. but now that I'm pregnant it's a bit much for me so this time I cut it to ¼ tsp. Use the amount to your taste preference)
- 2 boxes + 1 can of low sodium chicken broth
- ½ tsp. of salt
- ¼ tsp. of black pepper
- 2 ½ cups of shredded chicken breast
- A couple of small parmigiana rinds
- ¾ of a cup of cooked orzo
- A generous handful of baby spinach
Heat the oil in your pot over medium heat.
Add the onions and garlic. Saute for a round 10 minutes or until the onions and garlic are sweating but not brown.
Stir in the herbes de provence and cook for a minute or two.
Add the broth, salt, pepper, chicken breast and parmigiana rinds. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Remove the rinds and add the orzo and spinach. Sprinkle with a little extra parmigiana (or romano) cheese and enjoy!
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