Thursday, February 11, 2016

Lemon Asparagus Orzo Soup

     A Greek Style Soup!
     Lemon Rice Soup is a classic Greek soup.  Lemon Rice Soup is popular at Greek owned diners in the Chicago area.  Orzo Pasta can replace rice in this soup and many Mediterranean restaurants offer this version during the spring season.
     Lemon and asparagus is a classic flavor combination.  Orzo is a nice pasta for soup, because it resembles rice.  The flavor and character of this soup is similar to Greek Lemon Rice Soup.  There is plenty of orzo per serving of soup.  The broth has a healthy light lemon flavor.
     Lemon Asparagus Orzo Soup:
     This recipe yields 1 large bowl of soup.  (About 2 1/2 cups.)
     Only enough roux is added to add enough body to the broth to keep the orzo in suspension. 
     Lemon is added last, so the flavor is at a peak.  This soup should be served immediately after it is finished.
     Step 1:  Cook 1/3 cup of orzo pasta in boiling water till it is al dente.
     Cool the orzo under cold running water.
     Drain the water off of the orzo.
     Toss the orzo with 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil, so it does not stick together.
     Set the orzo aside.
     Step 2:  Heat a large sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of pomace olive oil.
     Add an equal amount of flower while stirring with a whisk to make a roux.  (About 1 tablespoon)
     Stir till the roux is a light golden color.
     Step 3:  Add 2 1/2 cups of chicken broth while stirring.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced shallot.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Raise the temperature to medium high heat.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 2 chiffonade sliced fresh sage leaves.  (chiffonade = thin ribbons)
     Add 1 pinch of oregano.
     Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
     Simmer the soup till the flavors meld.  Stir occasionally.  (About 10 minutes.  Allow the soup to reduce to about 2 cups.)
     Step 5:  Add 1/4 cup of thin bias sliced fresh asparagus stalks.  (Only use the tender parts of the stalks.  Peel the stalks if the asparagus skin is thick)
     Add 1/4 cup of asparagus tips.
     Simmer till the asparagus becomes tender, but not over cooked.  The asparagus should still be bright green.
     Step 6:  Add 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice.
     Add the reserved portion of al dente cooked orzo pasta.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of virgin olive oil.
     Stir the soup.
     Remove the pot from the heat.
     Step 7:  Ladle the soup into a bowl.
     Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of fine grated aged Kefalograviera Cheese on the soup.  (Substitute Parmigiana Cheese if no aged hard Kefalograviera is available.)
     It is difficult to stop eating this soup after the first sip!

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