This recipe for Chicken Orzo Soup makes a large pot of soup with about 15 one-cup servings. Although it is a dairy-based soup with half and half, it is not really a cream soup. It is delicious if you slow cook your own whole chicken with this Baked Chicken and Herbs recipe and use the chicken stock that it makes. Or you can use a store-bought rotisserie chicken and buy chicken stock for use. Either way, it is delicious and an easy-to-make soup.
What is Orzo?
If you aren’t familiar with orzo, it is pasta that looks like a seed. When it cooks in this recipe, it absorbs the chicken stock and grows in size. It is tempting to stir in a whole box or bag of orzo because, at first, it looks as though there is not enough in the soup. Avoid this temptation because the orzo will continue to absorb liquid after you finish cooking it. When you add too much orzo, you will find that the orzo will absorb the soup until there is none left to eat! The recipe calls for one cup. I would only add up to another 1/4 cup of orzo if you want soup with a lot of orzo. Trust me, I have added two cups before to this soup recipe, and the orzo absorbed all the liquid!
Difference Between Chicken Broth and Chicken Stock
Chicken broth is made from simmering chicken meat in water. Stock is made by simmering chicken bones in water. Many times, vegetables and herbs are also added when making either stock or broth. They will impart more flavor to the finished product. Chicken stock has a more natural taste from the simmered bones; broth usually has to rely on salt for flavoring. Another difference is that chicken stock is simmered for a longer time than broth which contributes to chicken stock’s richer flavor. Finally, homemade stock can be thicker than broth because gelatin is released from the bones during cooking. This is most noticeable when you cool homecooked stock in the refrigerator. It becomes thickened, whereas broth remains liquid.
Homemade Chicken and Stock
To impart the most flavor to this chicken orzo soup, I suggest using a slow cooker for cooking both the chicken and stock (using the Baked Chicken and Herbs recipe). Then use this chicken and stock (supplementing with store-bought chicken stock) to make the soup. This is the best method for the most delicious soup. Do note that it is best to cook the chicken and stock the day before making the soup.