College often demands earnest attention to lectures, readings, and all other lengthy requirements of a syllabus, even as colds cultivate in cramped classrooms. The Boston College sickness season is a perennial event, problematically produced by the petri dish of peers. The weekend then becomes the relief for recovery as coursework never else delivers an allowance for momentary cessation of responsibilities.
Yet, the days between the elation of Friday and dimness of Monday, always remind us of time’s brevity. Ever so quickly, seasonal depression stirs into the strains of Sunday, and we regret the skip of Saturday’s self care. The evening then necessitates immediate assistance to soften the frenzies forged from flus and freezing temperatures before the week begins once again.
It requires a remedy — cure to ameliorate the perpetual feeling of remaining under the weather and below the blankets. As I self-diagnose with such sickness, I run to fill my prescription: some Sunday soup for the studious soul.
This chicken and orzo soup is truly just a take on the traditional, and classic chicken-noodle. However, I love the way the orzo absorbs the flavor of the broth and spices, and am eager to share a few of my chosen additions of ingredients that pledge to brighten the flavor and reinvigorate your taste buds, either intact or dulled by the winter wear on your sinuses. Yet, most importantly, this recipe extends my sincere suggestion to share with friends and family who need to find a similar sanctuary in a serving of soup.
Rx: Chicken & Orzo Soup
2 chicken breasts
Extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup diced celery
1 cup peeled and diced carrots
1 cup diced yellow onion
6 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon curry
2 quarts chicken stock
20 sprigs fresh parsley
15 sprigs fresh thyme
16 oz orzo pasta
Preheat the oven to 350℉. Generously coat the chicken breasts with olive oil and place on a sheet pan. Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Bake the chicken breasts for 25 to 30 minutes, until cooked through. The time will vary depending on the size of your chicken breasts.
As the chicken is roasting, add two tablespoons of olive oil into a large pot over medium heat. As the olive oil begins to sizzle, add the diced celery, carrots and onion. Immediately stir to coat the vegetables in the olive oil and then add the minced garlic. Turn the heat down to medium-low and continue to add the spices, including the nutmeg, curry, salt and pepper to taste, as well as two cups of the chicken stock. As the ingredients become fully incorporated into the small portion of broth, continue to add the rest of the chicken stock and stir with the additions of the fresh parsley and thyme. Bring the mixture to a boil and then add the orzo pasta. The orzo will take roughly ten minutes to cook. Be sure to mix occasionally.
Once the chicken is fully cooked, remove the chicken from the sheet pan and place on a cutting board. With a fork, scrape the chicken to pull it apart, making it easier to incorporate into the soup. When the chicken is fully pulled apart, gently add it to the broth with the orzo and stir to incorporate into the soup. Test the soup to see if you need to add any more salt to your taste, or add another cup of water if you prefer more broth/want to reduce the density of the soup. Serve and enjoy!
Cover photo courtesy of Mel’s Kitchen Cafe