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posted: 2/15/2012 6:00 AM

Saffron-Scented Roast Chicken, Corn and Orzo Soup

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1 tablespoon olive oil

2 large celery ribs, strings removed and finely diced

1 medium onion, finely diced

1 pinch saffron threads

teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled

2 quarts sodium-reduced, fat-free chicken broth (organic preferred)

2 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast

cup dry orzo (rice-shaped pasta)

1 cup frozen yellow corn

cup chopped parsley (preferably flat-leafed)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or to taste)

Kosher salt

Fresh ground black pepper

Fill a medium saucepan two-thirds full with cold water and place over high heat.

While the water heats, place a large saucepan or medium soup pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil's hot, add celery and onion and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables begin to soften, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in thyme and saffron and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broth and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a low simmer, add chicken and cook until vegetables are tender about 8 minutes.

While the soup simmers, add 1 tablespoon kosher salt to the boiling water and stir in the orzo and cook 6-8 minutes. Drain, do not rinse.

Add drained orzo, corn and parsley to the soup and cook until the corn's heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Serves six.

Cook's notes: Use frozen roasted corn for another layer of flavor. Rice noodles can be substituted for the orzo to address gluten allergies. Soften about 3 ounces uncooked rice noodles in hot water according to package directions. Drain and add to the soup with the corn and parsley.

@Recipe nutrition:Nutrition values per serving (without added salt): 200 calories (19.6 percent from fat), 4.4 g fat (0.8 g saturated), 22 g carbohydrates, 1.7 g fiber, 20 g protein, 39 mg cholesterol, 579 mg sodium.

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