Lemon-Chicken & Pepe Soup

By • January 31, 2013 • 61 Comments

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Author Notes: Inspired by a multitude of Greek and Italian flavors, this dish is like a soup, salad, and pasta dish all-in-one. While hearty and warming, it has a light touch from the lemon and fresh herbs. The addition of romaine lettuce at the end may seem unusual, but in this case, it adds a flavor and texture that pairs well with the rest of the ingredients. Spinach, kale or arugula could be used in place of the lettuce. It comes together in about 20 minutes, and it's perfect for healthful lunches throughout the week.foxeslovelemons

Food52 Review: Loriloveslemons' delicious soup was quick and easy to prepare, especially using already made rotisserie chicken. The lemon -- the dish's the secret weapon -- gave this soup a delightful complexity, while the beans, vegetables and pastine made it nice and filling. It was a little surprising to use lettuce in the soup, but because it was added at the end it retained some of its texture and crunch. This soup would be equally good subbing different vegetables or beans, and it's an excellent basic recipe that can easily become whatever you want it to be.sdebrango

Serves 8

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 scallions (white and green parts separated), chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 9 cups chicken stock, plus additional if needed
  • 3/4 cup acini de pepe pasta
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (from a rotisserie chicken)
  • 1 cup canned garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Red pepper flakes for garnish (optional)
  1. In a large saucepot, heat oil over medium heat. Add scallion whites and celery; cook 1 minute or until vegetables are tender, stirring frequently. Add garlic, zucchini, salt, and pepper; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add stock, pasta and lemon zest; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-high; cook 9 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in chicken, beans, dill, and parsley; cook over medium-low for two minutes, or until chicken and beans are heated through.
  4. Just before serving, stir in lettuce, lemon juice and scallion greens. If soup becomes too thick, stir in additional stock as needed. Serve garnished with red pepper flakes, if desired.
Jump to Comments (61)

Comments (61) Questions (1)

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11 days ago Scribbles

Made this last night - really good! All the comments about light and comforting are right on target. I used quinoa cause I love it and it worked great. Also couldn't find dill so I went with the thyme and that tasted great. I do want to try the dill as I'm sure the lemon and dill will be super.

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12 days ago Nicole Kartikis

Would a low sodium chicken stock work? Any recommendations? Thank you! :)

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11 days ago Lynn Wainess

I always use Low sodium chx stock for all my recipes. That way you have control over how much salt you add. Also, you don't risk it being overly salty if you want to reduce a sauce.

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11 days ago Lynn Wainess

Swanson makes one. Also imagine (both available at whole foods. Trader joe's also makes one but I haven tasted it, so no guarantees. Have fun!

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11 days ago Nicole Kartikis

Thank you so much! Looking forward to making this recipe :)

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29 days ago Carol

Served this to a large group on New Year's Eve and everyone went back for seconds. I used the rotisserie chicken carcass to make the stock (along with a second carcass I had in the freezer) rather than using commercially prepared stock. I substituted escarole for the romaine as I thought it would hold up a bit better as I needed to do most of the prep in advance. Very successful substitution. Will definitely be making this one again.

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29 days ago foxeslovelemons

LOVE the escarole substitution, Carol. Sounds so good! I'm so glad this was a hit for you!

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2 months ago Eva

This soup exceeded my expectations! The flavors are complex but not too complex. It was delicious! This is going into my rotation.

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2 months ago foxeslovelemons

So glad you enjoyed it, Eva! Thanks so much for the kind words.

Me

8 months ago TheWimpyVegetarian

This looks fabulous, Lori! Pinning to make it this weekend. LOVE!

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8 months ago foxeslovelemons

Thanks so much, Susan. I hope you love it!

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8 months ago robin lewis

For the picky eater in the family, do you think it would be fine to leave out the green onions and lettuce and serve them on the side as a garnish for the rest of us?

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8 months ago Alexandra Parsons

I am confident that the soup will taste just great for those picky li'l eaters! Only the fine dining people will notice the absence of the green onions and the lettuce doesn't add or take away much really, so go ahead. They will love it for sure. :-)

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8 months ago foxeslovelemons

I agree with Alexandra, the soup will still be lovely serving these things on the side. Enjoy!

Stringio

10 months ago Horto

i just never have enough stock on hand
I'll poach the chicken, using sarah lee chases method, and use that liquid for stock!

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11 months ago Alexandra Parsons

Fabbbuloso soup! Sank a small pile of noodles in the bowl instead of adding the acini pasta, then spooned the soup over the top! Family fav go to meal in a bowl now! Thanks for the recipe.

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11 months ago foxeslovelemons

Great idea, Alexandra! So glad you loved it.

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11 months ago Lynn Wainess

I made this in anticipation of this week's winter storm. Substituted thyme for dill (not a big dill lover) and it was a big hit. Now I am done I see that the dill might have been inspired. Will try it next time. Thanks for this light and tasty soup. LMW

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11 months ago foxeslovelemons

So glad it was a hit, Lynn!

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about 1 year ago AnnabelMelrose

This has now become our family favourite go-to soup recipe.. I plan other meals just to be able to have the right things to hand to make this. I recommend following the recipe exactly the first time before making any adjustments of your own. It's warming and fresh and filling and light all at the same time. Thanks for posting!

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about 1 year ago foxeslovelemons

Thanks so much for the kind words, AnnabelMelrose. I'm so glad your family enjoys it. "warming and fresh and filling and light all at the same time" = EXACTLY what I was going for :)

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about 1 year ago healthierkitchen

Glad this popped up on the feature today! Perfect for the cold blast we're expecting!

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about 1 year ago foxeslovelemons

Thanks healthierkitchen! I think the high here in Detroit is going to be ZERO tomorrow. I have soups on the menu all week!

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about 1 year ago healthierkitchen

I am a weather wimp so I'm already freaked out about our low tonight in the single digits! But even if it wont be as cold here in DC I still made the soup! I love the lemon! First store didn't have parsley or dill today (DC full of fellow weather wimps buying out grocery store) so I used some thyme I had which took it more Italian than Greek so I went with cannellini beans this time. Everyone loved it!

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about 1 year ago foxeslovelemons

Oh yeah, our grocery stores here are wiped out, too! I actually really love the thyme and cannelini angle. So glad everyone loved it!

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about 1 year ago healthierkitchen

And, great for breakfast this morning, too, with a fried egg on top!

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about 1 year ago foxeslovelemons

Oh, heck yes! Anything is better with a fried egg on top, am I right?

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about 1 year ago healthierkitchen

Indeed!

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about 1 year ago Barb

On my way to work this morning I picked up a rotisserie chicken, some kale, spinach, and Israeli couscous; I knew I wanted to try this recipe tonight in preparation for being shut in tomorrow with the upcoming blizzard. Well, I've just finished a large bowl of this soup and I have to say it was absolutely delicious! Loved the lemon in it which gave it a light and refreshing finish. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!

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about 1 year ago foxeslovelemons

So glad you liked it, Barb! I was practically snowed in today, myself, and unfortunately, didn't have much on hand to make myself any soup! haha.

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about 1 year ago thecumincondition

This was delicious and so easy! I used orzo and dried herbs and added red kale.

Thank you for the great recipe!

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about 1 year ago foxeslovelemons

Yum, that sounds great! I love orzo and actually wanted to use it for this recipe, but my store was sold out of it. Love your user name, by the way :)

Stringio

almost 2 years ago ktmckinsey

This looks really good. Would Israeli cous cous work instead of the pasta? I'm planning to make this tonight, and I have about 3/4 c of it sitting in my cupboard.

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almost 2 years ago foxeslovelemons

Oh yes, Israeli substitute will work perfectly! Just throw it in and cook until its tender :)

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almost 2 years ago Baywife

Very good. I made it as directed except that I used fresh spinach in lieu of the romaine. I don't think I'd change anything else at all.

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almost 2 years ago foxeslovelemons

Thank you, Baywife. I'm so glad you liked it. I'm going to put spinach in it next time, too! I went with romaine because I'd had some traditional Greek dishes with romaine mixed into warm foods, so I knew it would stand up well. But, spinach is just healthier, so why not? :)

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almost 2 years ago Leaseachef

Made this last night and loved it! Silly quick and easy, and delicious. I left out the pasta because I am GF, and didn't miss it a bit. I didn't get much from the lettuce--next time I would sub in kale or spinach--or love the arugula suggestions! But the dill and lemon are such a wonderful flavor combo. I rarely use dill--this was delightful!

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almost 2 years ago foxeslovelemons

Thanks, Leaseachef, I'm so glad that you liked it and that it was enjoyable without the pasta. I think arugula would add a peppery bite that perhaps the lettuce is lacking.

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almost 2 years ago TriBeCa

I made the soup last night and I have never tasted anything so delicious in my life!! It tasted a bit like Greek egg lemon soup, but healthier. I served it with greyure cheese paninis! Amazing you can get so much lemon flavor with so little lemon. Thank you!!!

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almost 2 years ago foxeslovelemons

Thank you so much, TriBeCa! The inspiration certainly was Greek avgolemono soup :) I love the lemon flavor of that style of soup, but I wanted a little more "substance" in it, so it could be a full meal. I'm so glad you made it and enjoyed it.

Stringio

almost 2 years ago AriH

Made this tonight, with some small tweaks: brown rice instead of pasta, and some leftover bibb lettuce chooped up. The chicken broth was from the leftovers of a roaster from earlier in the week and I scraped the last bits of meat off the carcass for the soup as well. It came out really tasty, like others said, with a light touch, but still hearty. To me it tasted like Spring, somehow. It was a hit and will definitely make it onto the menu again in some incarnation.

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almost 2 years ago foxeslovelemons

I'm so glad it was a hit, Ari! I agree - it tasted like spring to me, too, even though I wrote the recipe in January!

Stringio

almost 2 years ago Hollyfleur

Made this tonight and really enjoyed it. I subbed some ingredients- because they are what I had on hand. I used kale for the romaine, orzo for the acini de pepe, and sugar snap peas for the zucchini. Still wonderfully yummy and fresh. (I even added a hunk of parm rind toward the end- the perfect compliment!) What a fabulous recipe that can be taken in a million directions! Thanks!

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almost 2 years ago foxeslovelemons

I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Holly! The parm rind at the end is an excellent idea! I'll try that next time, for sure :)

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almost 2 years ago CFrance

I can see this as a meatless soup, too, with some white beans added as well. I love the addition of lemon.

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almost 2 years ago foxeslovelemons

Thanks CFrance! This could definitely be meatless - just sub veg stock for the chicken stock, and sure - bulk it up with some extra beans!