For some reason, I like to make soup on a rainy day. This practice may go back to childhood because my mother often made soup. Her Manhattan Clam Chowder was especially good. I still remember the time she decided to make chicken soup in her new pressure cooker. Mom hadn't gotten used to this new appliance and, unfortunately, released the valve too soon.
Chicken soup shot up to the ceiling, a fact my father never let her forget. I remember the incredulous look on her face when this happened. If I recall, we had to replace some of the ceiling tiles.
My chicken soup isn't made in a pressure cooker. I just use a big pot with a lid that I found at a discount store. This recipe starts with basic soup ingredients – onions, celery, and carrots. Although I rarely cook Brussles sprouts, the grocery store was having a special on them, so I bought a few. This green, cabbage-like vegetable adds extra flavor to the soup.
For color, I add a can of diced, no-salt tomatoes in juice. For flavor, I add garlic and oregano. You may wish to add some dried basil, too.
Although leftover chicken is one of the ingredients, it can be omitted for a vegetarian version of the recipe. Vegetable stock may be substituted for chicken stock. As for the pasta, any small one will do, such as rings, shells, or cut spaghetti. You may be tempted to dump the pasta into the soup without measuring, this isn't a good idea. Instead of soup, you'll wind up with stroup, a cross between soup and stew.
Keep in mind that pasta continues to absorb moisture in the refrigerator, so you may have to add some water when you reheat soup. Chicken-Vegetable Soup with Orzo and Oregano is a meal in a bowl. Serve it with your favorite crackers, hard rolls, French bread, or flat bread.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 cup petite carrots
2 cups Brussles sprouts, halved
1 carton (32 ounces) salt-free chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice
1 can (14.5 ounces) water
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1/2 cup orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Pour olive oil into soup pot. Add onion and cook until translucent, about five minutes. Add celery, carrots, and sprouts. Cook five minutes more. Add all remaining ingredients, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese if desired. Makes 8 servings.