Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Au Bon Pain Restaurant Copycat Recipe

4 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup onion, medium dice
1/2 cup celery, medium dice
1/2 cup carrots, medium dice
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon basil, finely chopped
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
6 cups chicken stock
1 cup orzo, cooked
juice of 1 lemon
zest of half a lemon
2 cups chicken breast, cooked and chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream

In a heavy bottomed soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat and saute the onion, celery, and carrots until they begin to sweat and soften, about 5 to 7 minutes.  Add the garlic; cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute more.

Season the mixture with thyme, basil, salt, and black pepper; continue cooking another 30 seconds before pouring the chicken stock into the pot and bringing it to a boil. Partially cover the pot, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes.

Stir the orzo, lemon juice, and lemon zest into the stock and then add the chicken. Cook until the chicken and orzo are heated through, about 5 minutes. Add the heavy cream and cook for an addition 2 to 3 minutes before serving.

Notes: You can use a rotisserie-style chicken from the grocery store in this recipe; it adds a nice flavor and saves time. Garnish the soup with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and more fresh basil for a beautiful presentation.

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