Put da Chickie in de Pot

In honor of the Muppets’ 40th anniversary and in an attempt to flush a nasty head cold out of the house, a simple Portuguese lemon-mint soup made it on the menu. Let’s hear it for November minted mint.

Lemon-Mint Chicken Soup

Lemon-Mint Chicken Soup (very slightly adapted from David Leite’s The New Portuguese Table)

Serves 6-8

8 cups homemade chicken stock
1 1/2 lb bone-in chicken breasts, legs, or thighs, skin and fat removed
1/2 lemon
2/3 c. orzo
small rind of Parmesan cheese (optional, adds depth to stock)
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into small dice
2 small turnips, peeled and cut into small dice (optional, they sounded tasty)
3 tbs fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper
25 fresh mint leaves, stacked, rolled up lengthwise, and sliced razor-thin

1) Bring the stock to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and add the chicken and Parmesan rind. Gently simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let sit until the chicken is cooled through, 15-20 minutes.

2) Transfer the chicken to a plate to cool. Remove 1 strip of lemon zest and  add it to the pot with the orzo. Grate the rest of the zest and set aside. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat and cook, covered, until the orzo is tender, about 10 minutes.

3) Meanwhile, shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces.

4) When the orzo is cooked, remove the zest and rind, add the shredded chicken and the vegetables to the pot and simmer for several minutes to warm. Turn off the heat, pour in the lemon juice, and stir. Season with salt and pepper.

5) Ladle the soup into bowls, scatter with the mint and reserved grated zest, and serve immediately, before the lemon loses its zing.

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