Old-Fashioned Chicken and Orzo with Vegetables

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Flour, TooHands down this is my favorite soup to eat. I adore trying all of the interesting, inventive,
exotic, and inspired soups that all of the Flour chefs make. Our soup offerings change daily
at three different locations, so we have a vast repertoire. But when it comes to what I crave, day in and day out, there’s nothing like a classic chicken and noodle. Chef Jeff makes a double chicken stock chicken stock made with chicken stock as the liquid for the base of this rich, hearty soup. That technique along with the addition of fresh herbs and scallions right before serving make this soup supremely flavorful and satisfying.

  • Yield: 6 to 8 Servings ( 2½ QT/2.5 L)


  • 1½ lb (680 g) skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts
  • 2 Quart (2 L) Chicken Stock
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, cut into ½-in/12-mm pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into ½-in/12-mm pieces
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into ½-in/12-mm pieces
  • ½ medium fennel bulb, leafy tops trimmed and bulb chopped into 1-in/2.5-cm pieces
  • ½ cup (45 g) orzo pasta
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into ½-in/12-mm pieces
  • 1½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 4 scallions, white and green parts, minced
  • 4 cups (100 g) baby spinach leaves
How to Make It
  1. In the stockpot, combine the chicken breasts, stock, and 2 cups/480 ml water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the chicken is just cooked through.
  2. Remove the breasts from the stock, and pour the stock into another container. Let the stock stand for a minute or two, then, using a ladle or large spoon, skim off the fat that rises to the surface. You don’t need or want to skim it all off it’s this rich fat that adds flavor to your soup but you want to skim most of it off so your soup doesn’t end up greasy.
  3. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and shred the meat into small pieces, discarding the skin. Set aside. (The bones can be tightly wrapped and stored in the freezer for up to 1 month and added to your next batch of stock to make it richer.)
  4. In the same stockpot, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and fennel; reduce the heat to medium-low; and sweat the vegetables, stirring often with a wooden spoon, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until they soften and the onion is translucent.
  5. Add the reserved stock, raise the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Add the orzo, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the orzo is almost completely cooked but still has a touch of bite. Add the zucchini, salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne. Bring back to a simmer and simmer for 2 minutes.
  6. Add the reserved shredded chicken and stir in the parsley, thyme, sage, rosemary, scallions, and spinach. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately. The soup can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

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