Orzo vegetable soup

It’s seriously cold now in Istanbul, so I’m all about the warming soups these days. Not only have a got another recipe for a ginger pumpkin soup up my sleeve (I know, what could be more perfect?), but I’ve been working on this bad boy for a while now.

This is an easy, clear vegetable soup, made from a simple base of onion, carrot and chicken stock. If you don’t have the vegetables I suggest below to hand, just add whatever you have – peas would work well, as would finely chopped squash, or thinly sliced leeks. Kidney beans are a good addition too if you need some protein in there. In this soup, the texture is key. That’s why I keep the vegetables all finely chopped and use tiny little orzo pasta. If you’re less fussed about an even texture, chop at will and use whatever small pasta you have to hand.

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A note on the stock: I use stock cubes without shame, even in a clear soup like this because, really, who actually makes and freezes their own stock like we’re all supposed to? If you do, great. If you don’t, don’t sweat it. It tastes great with a cube.

Finally, the orzo will continue to soak up the stock long after the cooking. For this reason, I suggest making this soup to serve immediately. If this isn’t practical, leave out the orzo until you’re ready to serve, and cook it while the soup is reheating.

Serves: 8

Time needed: 45 minutes

What you need

1 dst spoon olive oil

1 dst spoon butter

1 medium onion, finely diced

2 medium carrots, cut into 1 cm dice

1 red pepper, cut into 1 cm dice

1 large courgette, cut into 1cm dice

1 large tomato, finely chopped

½ tsp salt

Black pepper, ground

4 cups of boiling chicken stock

½ cup orzo

How to make it

  1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the oil and butter together over a medium heat until the butter has completely melted.
  2. Tumble in the chopped onion, carrot and pepper, and sautéed until softened.
  3. Then add the courgette. Stir to combine, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. The courgette will sweat in the pan and soften quickly.
  4. Next tip in the chopped tomato and use its juices to deglaze the pan if needed. Add the salt and pepper and simmer for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Finally, tip in the boiling stock and bring the pan to a rolling boil. Pour in the orzo, return to the boil, reduce the heat and summer for around 15 minutes, until the orzo is softened.
  6. Serve immediately.
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