Jan and I have colds this week, so she asked for chicken soup for dinner. It is Meyer lemon season and I thought that a garlic lemon soup would be the thing to make. Jan was unsure about this, because she thought it would be too sour. My solution was to add a dollop of lemon curd to cut the citric acid.
One of the first posts I made was for a Greek Avgolemono soup, but I wanted something a bit different. I wanted a bit less lemon and more vegetables—more of a chicken vegetable soup with lemon. Jan also likes to control the amount of starch in her dishes, so I cooked the orzo separately to be added as desired.
After Dinner Note: The lemon curd made the soup a bit of a sweet and sour soup.
Karl’s Meyer Lemon Chicken Soup
2 Meyer Lemons (see note below)
1 Tbs. Meyer Lemon zest
4 Tbs. butter, separate uses
4 chicken thighs, boneless
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
½ tsp. Kosher salt
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
1 small carrot, grated
1 cup green cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 leek, white part only, coarsely chopped
5 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tsp. Mediterranean oregano
½ tsp. thyme
32 oz. low sodium chicken broth
¼-½ cup, orzo, dry
½ tsp. black pepper, fresh cracked
1 Tbs.+ Karl’s Lemon Curd
1. Zest one of the lemons to produce about one tablespoon of zest, reserve.
2. Slice the other lemon at the equator, taking 4-6 very thin slices out of the middle of the lemon.
Tip: You want one slice of lemon for each person you are serving.
3. Deseed the lemon slices and set them aside.
4. Juice the zested lemon and the ends of the sliced lemon, reserve.
Note: This produces about a ¼ cup of juice.
5.Melt one tablespoon of butter in a soup pot over medium high heat.
6. Fry the chicken thighs, until well browned on both sides.
7. Transfer the chicken to a plate to cool.
Note: When the chicken has cooled, cut it into small bite sized pieces.
8. Deglaze the pot with a tablespoon of water and add the liquid to the plate.
9. Melt two tablespoons of the butter in the pot and sauté the onions with the salt.
10. When the onions are starting to show some color add the celery and carrot.
Note: I do not like the texture of cooked carrots. I always grate my carrot, so that they break down into the broth. If you prefer you may dice the carrot.
11. Cook the vegetables for two minutes and then add the cabbage and leeks.
12. Continue sautéing until the vegetables are soft, about five minutes.
13. Pull the vegetables to the sides of the pot and sauté the garlic in the hole in the center until fragrant, about one minute.
Tip: You may add another teaspoon of butter to the garlic.
14. Stir in the oregano, thyme, lemon zest, lemon slices, lemon juice, and broth.
Tip: Stir the pot gently so that you do not break up the lemon slices.
15. Bring the pot to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat.
16.Simmer the soup for 15-20 minutes.
17. Bring 4 cups of lightly salted water to a boil and stir in the orzo.
18. When the orzo is tender, about nine minutes, drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
19. Stir one tablespoon of butter into the orzo.
Tip: This keeps the pasta from clumping into one solid mass.
20. Stir in the chicken and pepper and continue simmering the soup for five more minutes.
21. Carefully remove the lemon slices from the soup.
22. Have your diner’s add as much pasta to their bowls as they wish.
23. Serve the soup into the individual bowls and garnish each one with a lemon slice.
24. Serve the lemon curd on the side, so that your diners may choose how much to add.