Chicken and Orzo Soup with Kale and White Beans
2 slices smoky bacon, chopped
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 15-oz can petite diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 tablespoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 quarts stock or water
1 cup uncooked orzo
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 bunch kale, tough stems removed, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Cook bacon in a large saucepan over medium heat for 7 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings in pan; set bacon aside.
Add chicken to drippings in pan; saute 6 minutes or until cooked through. Remove chicken from pan.
Add carrots, onion and garlic to pan; cook 4 minutes or until tender. Add tomatoes, oregano, basil, salt, red pepper flakes and pepper; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Return bacon and chicken to pan. Pour in the stock or water, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil. Add orzo, and cook for 9 minutes. Add beans; cook 1 minute or until heated through. Remove from heat; stir in kale and parsley until wilted. Serve.
I used my Italian Sausage, Kale and Cannellini Bean Soup as a springboard here, and expected it to taste quite similar and yet, much to our surprise, Steve I both loved this one significantly more! Something about the way the chicken blended with the beans and the added orzo, basil and parsley just made it a more cohesive dish. It was spectacular and an instantly repeatable keeper.
That’s a real kitchen joy – being able to take an already established recipe of mine and transform it into something even more delicious. Amazing. Love it.