I’ve decided to judge how productive my days are based on how many times I have to run the dishwasher. It’s a running joke between Jeff and I because when I go out of town for a week, he might run the machine one time. But in my day to day life, I’m using it at least once per day even though I wash many dishes by hand. And I hate doing dishes. But they’re a clear indicator of whether I’ve been slacking or getting things done.
No job is perfect. Dishes are just part of the deal and I’ve gotten used to them. Part of the reason this soup is so appealing to me is because there’s very little clean up involved. I use a dutch oven or heavy bottom pot for cooking the soup plus a plate and cutting board for handling the bacon and chicken. It’s easy, not overly time consuming and perfect for this time of year.
- 5 slices bacon
- 2 cups yellow onion, diced (approximately 1 large onion)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup celery, diced (approximately 3 ribs)
- 1 cup carrots, diced
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
- 6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
- ½ cup orzo
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt or to taste
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper or to taste
- chopped fresh parsley to taste
- In a large dutch oven or heavy bottom saucepan, render the fat from the bacon over low heat. Once there's a nice layer of fat on the bottom of the pan, turn the heat up slightly and cook the bacon until crisp. Place the bacon on a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Discard all but 2-3 tablespoons of the fat from the pan.
- Add the onions, garlic, celery, and carrots to the pan with a pinch of salt. Cook the vegetables on medium heat for several minutes, stirring periodically, until they have caramelized a bit (Note: the more you caramelize them, the more flavorful the finished soup will be).
- Lay the chicken breasts on top of the vegetables and cover with the chicken stock. Bring the the liquid to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to low. Allow the soup to simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the chicken and place on a cutting board. Once it has cooled slightly, use 2 forks to shred the meat. Set aside.
- Bring the soup back to a boil and add the orzo. Cook for 8 minutes, uncovered, until the orzo is al dente.
- Add the chicken back to the soup and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Dice the reserved bacon. Garnish each bowl of soup with fresh parsley and diced bacon before serving. (Note: the bacon can be reheated either in a skillet over medium heat or in the microwave at 10 second intervals)