Coffee and cream. Chocolate and peanut butter. Grey autumn days and hardy soups. Orzo and red peppers. Certain things were seemingly destined to go together, and we’re focusing on those last two pairs with today’s recipe – Peppers & Orzo Soup, prepared with warming combination of garlic, serrano peppers, and oregano.
Now, let’s get to it.
Ingredient Notes, Tips, and Substitutions.
1) Serrano Peppers. The source of the soup’s heat, as well as a fair share of its ‘earthy’ and ‘warming’ flavor profile, I decided on serranos over Jalapenos or Italian Long Hots for a couple of reasons. Though considerably hotter than jalapenos, serrano peppers have a less ‘distinct’ flavor, being somewhat more muted and earthy, whereas jalapenos are ‘brighter’ or even sometimes ‘crisp’ of flavor, and, to my palate, have a very distinct ‘jalapeno flavor’ apart from their heat. Italian Long Hots, by contrast, have very little heat, but pack a decided ‘punch’ of bright ‘peppery’ flavor. To my mind, that makes serrano peppers perfect for today’s soup. However, if you want to dial back the heat, poblanos would work excellently.
2) Orzo. Far and away the best known type of Greek pasta (zymariká), is orzo, and to most minds outside of Greece, Macedon, and Turkey, it is perhaps the only known type of Greek pasta. With that being said, feel free to substitute rice, elbows, or really any diminutive pasta in place of the orzo if you prefer. I’m using orzo purely as a matter of preference, as I find it hardier and bit more ‘substantial’ than the alternatives, which I think plays to the rest of the soup rather nicely.
3) Chicken Stock – Not Broth. Contrary to popular misconception, chicken ‘broth’ and chicken ‘stock’ are two very different things. Chicken stock is prepared from chicken bones which have been left to boil over a low heat for hours on end (sometimes even up to a day), often with assorted vegetables and seasonings. By contrast, chicken broth uses primarily the meaty parts of the chicken, or simply the remnants of a carved carcass, which is then boiled down for one to three hours (sometimes a little more). Chicken stock tends to have a thicker consistency and fuller flavor due to the gelatin and nutrients released from the long simmering bones, whereas broth – by design – is thinner textured and less fully flavored. While homemade chicken stock is generally better, since you’re controlling what’s in it – meaning no preservatives or flavor additives – feel free to use your favorite brand of chicken stock, since the flavor and texture tend to be on par with homemade.
1) First the Orzo, then the Soup. I prefer to prepare the orzo and soup separately, and then to keep them that way. Instead, I set a cup or two of orzo in a bowl, and then spoon the soup over the orzo. This assures a set ratio of orzo to soup, ensuring each guest or family member has a perfectly balanced bowl. However, this is purely preference.
2) Bread is a Must. While any crusty bread would pair great with this soup, I cannot recommend enough that you try it alongside Homemade Breadsticks.
More Autumn Stews and Soups From Living the Gourmet.
1) Stovetop Chicken Stew. A quintessential autumn chicken stew, combining vine-ripe tomatoes, baby bella and portabella mushrooms, and chicken rubbed with coriander, fresh lemon, salt, and freshly ground nutmeg.
2) Beef Bourguignon. My take on one of the most iconic French recipes. Cubed chuck roast simmered to perfection in a red wine sauce with bay leaves, thyme, shallots, parsley, and potatoes. This recipe is a must for the autumn season.
3) Potato Leek Soup. A super simple combination of potatoes, shallots, and carrots in a cream based broth, served alongside homemade croutons.
If You Enjoyed Today’s Recipe…
Be sure to follow us on Instagram to stay up to date with all things Living the Gourmet, and for more great recipes, tips and tricks.
Did you make this recipe?
If so, let me know in the comments down below, or post a picture to Instagram, or to Pinterest, and I’ll give you a shoutout on Instagram, or post your pin to one of my Pinterest boards!
Enjoy with Love!