Originally, this soup called for arugula as the leafy green - but I love the familiar taste of kale from Olive Garden's to-die-for Zuppa Toscana soup. So I couldn't wait to substitute it right into the recipe. I loved how easy it was to make this soup, but how it tasted like it had been simmering away all day. We loved everything about the soup (except for the mushrooms. Ryan really isn't a fan unless they're stuffed with cream cheese and sausage.) The manchild really loved this dish, too - even though he missed out on the delicious broth (we strained the soup for him, and he just ate the pieces... even the kale!) I hope his non-picky palate stays as long as possible.
*I've recently had a reader ask for 'side-dish' suggestions along with my recipes. I'm happy to share what we had along with dinner! From now on, I'll try my best to include what we paired the recipe with, or leave some kind of side-dish suggestion. (Thanks Lauren!)
-I served this with leftover pizza dough (from the Roasted Tomato Basil Pizza) rolled into little bread sticks (they soaked up the broth beautifully). I think you could skip the side salad on this one, it's basically already in the soup with the kale.
Chicken and Orzo Soup Kale
32-oz container chicken stock (4 cups)
2 T EVOO
2 chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
2 T thyme
1 bay leaf
1 onion, finely chopped
2 large carrots, chopped (or grated)
1/2 lb mushrooms, chopped
2/3 C orzo pasta
2 C chopped kale
1 C fresh basil leaves, julienne
1 t grated lemon peel
salt and pepper
In a medium soup pot, bring the chicken stock and 2 cups water to a low boil.
Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, heat the EVOO, over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add thyme and bay leaf, then stir in onion, carrot, and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan and cook until veggies until softened, 6- minutes.
Pour the hot stock over the veggies, and bring to a boil. Stir in orzo and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Removed from heat and add kale and basil to wilt. Stir in lemon pep, discard bay leaf, season with salt and pepper. Serve with lots of grated cheese.
*Recipe adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray Magazine, October 2009
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