Chicken Soup with Leeks and Orzo (4)

A thick silky soup which can be served as a main from Nigel Slater. Keep the pieces of chicken thick and roughly torn .

Chicken Soup with Leeks and Orzo (4)
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Chicken Soup with Leeks and Orzo (4)
Print Recipe
  1. Warm the olive or vegetable oil in a deep, wide pan, add the chicken pieces, skin side down and lightly seasoned, then cook for about 10-15 minutes over a moderate heat until the skin is a rich, deep gold. Turn them and colour the underside similarly, then remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. Trim the leeks, discarding the roots and the very dark tips of the leaves. Slice into rounds, about as thick as a pencil, wash them thoroughly in cold running water, removing every grain of grit trapped between their layers.
  3. Shake the leeks dry, then add them to the pan in which you cooked the chicken – there should still be plenty of juices in which to do so – letting them cook over a moderate heat for about 15 minutes. Cover the pan with a lid, so the leeks soften without browning.
  4. When the leeks are soft and sweet, pour in the stock and bring to the boil, then add the lemon half, the whole peppercorns and a teaspoon of salt.
  5. Turn the heat down to a simmer, return the chicken to the pan and let the stock, lemon and leeks bubble gently for about 30 minutes till the chicken is soft and ready to pull from its bones.
  6. Remove the chicken from the stock with a draining spoon and slice the meat from the bones, keeping the pieces big and juicy. Turn up the heat, rain the orzo into the stock and continue boiling for 8-10 minutes till the orzo has swelled and softened.
  7. Add the olives, peas and parsley, and correct the seasoning. Cook for a minute or two – the stew should be thick and soupy – then stir in the chicken and ladle into bowls.
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