Chicken, bean and orzo soup with walnut pesto

Chicken, bean and orzo soup with walnut pesto

This hearty chicken and bean soup from food writer Debora Robertson is packed with nuggets of filling orzo pasta. Finish with a generous swirl of homemade walnut pesto.

Chicken, bean and orzo soup with walnut pesto

Finish that open packet of orzo with another of our easy orzo recipes.

  • Serves icon Serves 4
  • Time icon Hands-on time 25 min. Simmering time 45 min

This hearty chicken and bean soup from food writer Debora Robertson is packed with nuggets of filling orzo pasta. Finish with a generous swirl of homemade walnut pesto.

Finish that open packet of orzo with another of our easy orzo recipes.

Nutrition: per serving

Calories
757kcals
Fat
51g (9g saturated)
Protein
40g
Carbohydrates
33g (6.2g sugars)
Fibre
3.8g
Salt
1.5g

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 skin-on chicken breasts
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, halved and finely sliced
  • 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
  • 400g tin white beans (such as butter, haricot or cannellini), drained and quickly rinsed
  • 80g orzo
  • Small bunch (10g) parsley, leaves and fine stalks only, chopped
  • Finely grated zest 1 small unwaxed lemon, plus ½ the juice (save the other half for the pesto)

For the pesto

  • 60g baby spinach
  • 40g parmesan, finely grated
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Juice ½ lemon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 60g toasted walnuts
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Method

  1. Warm the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat and brown the chicken all over, starting skin-side down. When it’s golden, remove to a plate.
  2. Lower the heat slightly and fry the onion with the thyme sprigs, bay leaf and a good pinch of salt, stirring from time to time, until the onion is soft and translucent (about 15-20 minutes). Add the celery, carrots and garlic and fry gently for a couple of minutes, then add the stock and bring to a gentle simmer.
  3. Return the chicken to the pan along with any juices and poach for 15 minutes until tender. Remove and shred with a fork or cut into pieces with a knife, then return it to the pan. You can discard the skin at this point if you prefer – it has done its job, helping to flavour the soup.
  4. Taste the soup and add more salt and pepper as necessary. Add the white beans and the orzo to the pan and simmer gently until the orzo is cooked (7-10 minutes depending on the brand).
  5. While the soup is simmering, make the pesto. In a blender, pulse together the spinach, parmesan, garlic, lemon juice and salt until just coarse. Trickle in the olive oil, pulsing as you go. Finally, add the walnuts and pulse briefly – you still want it to have some texture to it.
  6. When the orzo is cooked, stir the parsley, lemon zest and juice into the soup. Serve in warmed bowls, with some of the pesto spooned over the top.

Nutrition

Calories
757kcals
Fat
51g (9g saturated)
Protein
40g
Carbohydrates
33g (6.2g sugars)
Fibre
3.8g
Salt
1.5g

delicious. tips

  1. Easy swaps Add more vegetables to the soup to suit your tastes and what you have in the fridge. Swap white beans for chickpeas if you like, and use hazelnuts in the pesto in place of walnuts if that’s what you have. It’s very forgiving.

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Recipe By

Debora Robertson

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