Chicken noodle soup gets a seasonal make-over with butternut squash, orzo pasta, fragrant herbs and sweet leek in this delicious Chicken Orzo Soup.
When I was little, my grandmother used to call me “her little soup girl.” This was because I was obsessed with soup. A weird thing to be obsessed with, I know. No matter what time of day, no matter what temperature it was outside and no matter what everyone else was eating, all I ever wanted to eat was soup. There are several photos of me in pretty ruffled dresses, sitting at my grandma’s checkered-clothed table and happily sipping a big bowl of soup with an over-sized spoon.
At least I was an easy child to please?
My strange deep-rooted infinity for soup has carried into my adulthood. I’m always in the mood for soup, especially this time of year. A warm bowl of homemade soup is so comforting to me. Don’t you just want to cozy up in a super comfortable chair (preferably a La-Z-Boy…La-Z-Boy’s are another thing I have an odd obsession with) with a nice big bowl of soul-soothing soup? The answer should be yes.
Now, a lot of people don’t bother with homemade soups because they can be time consuming. And that’s true, especially if you’re making your own broth. But this chicken orzo soup uses time-saving store-bought chicken broth and rotisserie chicken. Not to fret, though, there are so many wonderful brands of chicken broth now and rotisserie chicken is readily available at pretty much any grocery store. While you certainly can use that famous $5 Costco chicken, I really recommend Whole Food’s rotisserie chickens. They’re responsibly raised, vegetarian fed and free of all that not-so-good stuff (antibiotics, hormones, artificial colors & preservatives). While they are a really fair price, check your local stores’ flyer because on certain days of the week you can pick one up for $6.99. That’s less than $2 more than Costco, but so much more worth it. For the broth, I use and recommend Imagine’s brand. It’s organic, free-range and really delicious.
So, see? Homemade soup can be a breeze. And what’s more comforting than chicken noodle soup? I’ve been really inspired by fall lately, so I decided to revamp my chicken noodle soup into something a bit more seasonal. This soup combines butternut squash, orzo, leeks and vegetables with fragrant sage, bay leaf and thyme.
It’s basically fall in a bowl.
And if you don’t want to deal with peeling and chopping a butternut squash, I won’t make you. You can grab some pre-cut at the store, and if you do, grab around 1.5 pounds of it.
Now let’s make some chicken orzo soup and get cozy on a La-Z-Boy. (But seriously, do you have one? Cause if you do… I’m coming over.)
Chicken noodle soup gets a seasonal make-over with butternut squash, orzo pasta, fragrant herbs and sweet leek.
- 1 cup orzo (dry)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 carrots, diced
- 1 leek, diced (white and light green parts only)
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 3 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme
- 2 fresh or dried bay leaves
- 8 cups organic, free-range chicken broth
- 4 cups butternut squash, peeled and roughly chopped (from about a 2.5–3 lb squash)
- 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
- olive oil
- salt + pepper
- Cook one cup of dry orzo until al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large stock pot and stir in chopped leek, garlic, carrot and celery. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are softened but not browned, about 7 minutes.
- Stir in chopped sage, bay leaf and thyme and cook about 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Add chicken stock and chopped butternut squash.
- Cook soup until the vegetables are soft and the butternut squash is tender, but not breaking down, about 20 minutes.
- Stir in cooked orzo and chicken and discard bay leaves. Serve immediately, garnished with fresh sage. Enjoy!