Hearty Italian Chicken Soup with Orzo

Hearty Italian Chicken Soup with Orzo

- 30 oz leftover chicken drippings/chicken stock (see below)
- 6 cups water
- 2 pounds organic, ground chicken
- 1 cup of dried or sun-dried tomatoes (with or without olive oil)
- 1 cup dried Orzo
- 1, 1 ounce package dried shiitake mushrooms, broken into bite-size pieces (fresh mushrooms perfectly suitable as well, but the texture remains when using these)*
- 1 1/2 cups artichoke hearts
- 1, 14oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 giant elephant clove garlic, or 10 regular cloves
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 cup carrots, chopped
- 4 tablespoons capers
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons dried basil
- two small pinches dried red pepper flakes
- Half a package frozen peas (about 8 ounces)
- one zucchini sliced and quartered
- 1T Salt and 1 T pepper, more to taste, if needed

Makes a large batch, but great for leftovers or even freezing.

* I really wanted mushrooms in the soup and this was the only thing I had in the house. After a quick Google search I learned that shiitake mushrooms are extremely good for you. In they went! I'm glad I experimented with them, the flavor and texture was really good, and they did not become mushy or soggy.

For the chicken stock/ drippings I simply reserved all the juice from chicken I cooked in the crock pot the night before.  A glass jar works perfect for storage. The flavor of the stock is SOOO incredibly delicious and you waste nothing this way.

Spray crock put with olive oil. Chop the carrots, garlic, and onion in a food processor, or by hand. Mix all ingredients together in the crock pot. Cook on low 6 hours on low.



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