This week marks my return to the world of the working. I'll be teaching French to students in grades 5-8. All. Day. Long...although honestly, I couldn't be more thrilled about it! I'm also putting together two choirs; one at each of my schools. To say that this new schedule will take some "getting used to" is an understatement...At any rate, I don't anticipate being altogether too thrilled to cook up a meal every evening. Enter: my slow cooker. The following is a recipe that I have returned to time and time again, because it's so darn good...It's also a lovely fall transition recipe, and you'll have tons left over for lunches!
Chicken Orzo Soup
You will need:
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, sliced into thin half-moons
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
6 chicken thighs cut into bite sized pieces
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup dried orzo
pepper to taste
1. In a large skillet, heat the oil and saute the onions, garlic, celery and carrots together in the pan until the onions are translucent, about 5-8 mins. Add them to your slow cooker.
2. In the same skillet, add the chopped chicken thighs and brown completely (they don't need to be cooked through). Put the browned chicken pieces into the slow cooker.
3. (Optional) If you have the time, and you're inclined, "deglaze" the skillet, by adding about 1/2 cup of water and bringing it to a boil while scraping up the brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Add this liquid to your soup for another "flavour dimension." You can completely skip this step if you're pressed for time.
4. Add six cups of water to the slow cooker, the balsamic vinegar, bouillon cubes, bay leaves and pepper. Cook on low for 7-8 hours.
5. 15 minutes before serving, add the raw orzo to the soup. Cover and flip your slow cooker to "high."
Enjoy! Happy back to school!
Note: You can also use any leftover cooked chicken you have on hand to make this soup even easier. Just shred up about 1-2 cups of precooked chicken and skip steps two and three.