Chef Dad's Italian Chicken Soup

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

Chef Dad's Italian Chicken Soup

Ingredients:
1 roasted rotisserie chicken (fresh "to go" from your grocer's deli)
32 oz. chicken stock
3 cups water
1/4 cup (4 tbsp.) butter
1 1/2 cups celery (diced)
1 1/2 cups carrots (about two large or three medium-sized, peeled and diced)
1 onion (diced)
3 tbsp. garlic (diced fine)
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt
Fresh cracked pepper
2 tsp. oregano flakes
3/4 cup dry (uncooked) orzo* or any tiny pasta

Cooking:
1) Remove skin from your roasted chicken then peel away meat from the bird. When doing so, don't throw away the juices from the bottom of the container. Pull apart the meat into desired size pieces, pour juices over the top, and then set aside.

2) In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, melt butter, then add celery, carrots, onion and garlic.  Add 2 teaspoons of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and the oregano flakes then stir well. Sauté for about eight minutes until veggies become tender. Add your chicken stock, water and bay leaves. Increase heat to high and bring up to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium then add the pasta and stir frequently, especially in the beginning to avoid your pasta sticking to the bottom of the pot. Cook until pasta is tender (about eight minutes). Remove bay leaves then add your chicken. Warm the chicken for a minute or so. Taste for additional salt and pepper, if necessary, and make your adjustments a little at a time then serve immediately.

Cook's Notes: Orzo is very small Italian pasta which is perfect for soups. While the recipe calls for just 3/4 cup of it, you can use up to 1 cup as long as you plan to eat the entire batch within an hour simply because that pasta will continue to expand and absorb all of your broth. You can always use other tiny pastas or 2 cups of cooked white rice instead of the orzo. If you have some leftovers the next day and the pasta or rice has absorbed most of your broth, simply add more chicken stock and a dash more salt and pepper on your stove when reheating. 

This recipe makes 8-10 bowls or about 16 cups.