cheap eats: greek lemon orzo soup

I’m pretty certain that the word “student” means “lazy, busy, and broke” in some language or another.  I know this because I am a scientist.  As such, we tend to cut corners on food; going out to eat or ordering takeout when we can’t afford it, frozen pizza, ramen, and PB&J’s, and eating stuff all the time that simply lacks creativity.  A couple months into my stint at my first apartment (305 holla), I was growing very, very tired of the same salad for lunch every day and chicken, rice, and broccoli for dinner every night.

One day during a Tumblr-scrolling marathon, I came across the most magical website ever created: budgetbytes.com.  Creator Beth Moncel’s recipes are all cheap, flavourful, healthy, and non-threatening to a novice cook like me.  Seriously, Budget Bytes is my bible and Beth Moncel is my goddess.  I pray to the Church of Budget Bytes every night before bed.  Since I found Budget Bytes, planning my meals became the highlight of my week.  I make a big batch of something for lunch and something for dinner, and the eat the leftovers for the next 4-5-ish days, which really cuts back on shopping trips.

Anyway, I should probably get to the point.  I adore cooking now, and I’d like to share the stuff I cook so everyone else can experience the deliciousness too!

I’ll start with this Greek Lemon Orzo Soup, which is from the recently released Budget Bytes cookbook.

IMG_0263
I’m really sorry about my complete lack of food photography skills.

It’s a gloomy, damp-ish day in Edinburgh (dreich, as the Scots say), so this bright-flavoured soup was the perfect pick-me-up.  And it was so easy.  Like, probably one of the easiest soups I’ve ever made.  The original recipe from the book was pretty much just broth and orzo (which is a small rice-like pasta), but I wanted to add a bit more colour and nutrition, so I popped some carrots and spinach in there.  Feel free to omit those, though.  Also, I know it probably looks like there’s cream or something in there, but I’ll tell you a secret…it was an egg.  Yup, eggs are magical, and when you properly temper them into a liquid (it’s not hard, promise!), it makes it creamy!

Greek Lemon Orzo Soup

Adapted from Budget Bytes; Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbps olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2-3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 whole lemon
  • 3 cups chicken broth (I used bullion cubes+water; or use vegetable broth for vegetarian soup)
  • 1/2 cup orzo
  • 1 egg
  • Couple handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1/4 bunch chopped parsley (I used curly-leaf)

Instructions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat.  Add the garlic, onion, and carrots; sauté until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Zest the lemon into the pot; a small-holed cheese grater will work fine.  Try to only grate the yellow part, because the white pith is bitter.  Then, add the chicken broth plus an additional cup of water (4 cups of liquid total) to the pot.  Turn the heat up to high and let it come to a boil.
  3. Once it boils, turn the heat down to medium and add the orzo.  Let the orzo cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. In a medium bowl, juice the lemon (be careful of seeds!).  Whisk it together with the egg.
  5. Once the orzo is cooked, turn off the heat.  Take about 1/2 cup of the hot soup, and slowly whisk it into the egg/lemon juice.  Make sure to whisk CONSTANTLY.  This is what tempers the egg, and it will stop the egg from scrambling once you add it to the soup.
  6. Slowly pour the tempered egg mixture into the pot, again whisking constantly.  The soup should turn opaque…magic, I tell ya!
  7. Sprinkle in the chopped parsley, and add the spinach.  Stir until the spinach is wilted (it’s very delicate so it’ll only take a few seconds), and voilà!

I hope y’all give this simple, yummy soup a try.  I promise it’s good!

Despite what my ugly pictures may imply.
Despite what my ugly pictures may imply.
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