Slow Cooker Chicken Orzo Soup

Fresh lemon and rosemary add lots of bright spring flavor to this soup.

Slow Cooker Chicken Orzo Soup
Makes About 3 Quarts
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs (3 pounds), skin removed if desired
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise ¼ inch thick
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary (or ½ teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed)
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 8 ounces orzo, cooked according to package directions
  • 4 ounces baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce*
  • Lemon wedges, to serve
  • Garnish: finely chopped fresh rosemary
  1. In a shallow bowl, stir together flour, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper. Dredge chicken in flour mixture to coat; shake off excess.
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Working in batches, add chicken, and cook until browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a 4-to 5-quart slow cooker.
  3. In same skillet, cook carrot, onion, and bell pepper over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, and rosemary; cook for 1 minute. Transfer mixture to cooker.
  4. Add stock, lemon zest, and bay leaf to cooker. Cover and cook on low until chicken is tender, 4 to 5 hours Remove chicken thighs; discard bay leaf. Let chicken cool for 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, skim fat from cooker juices. Remove skin and bones from chicken. Coarsely shred chickenj Add orzo and chicken to cooker; cook on low until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in spinach and hot sauce. Remove from heat. Serve with lemon wedges. Garnish with rosemary, if desired.
*We used TABASCO®.