Monday, October 5, 2015

Roasted Eggplant, Chicken, and Orzo Soup

The temperatures here in New England have begun plummeting south, with the result that breaking out the old soup cauldron suddenly seems like The Best Idea Ever. Today's recipe came about when I had an unused eggplant on my kitchen table and soup on my mind. A quick search yielded a Serbian recipe that was a like a cross between old-school chicken and avgolemono, to which I added more vegetables, a wider variety of seasonings, and a handful of orzo because it seemed like right thing to do. The lemon juice and fresh parsley lend a nice brightness to this otherwise pretty wintry soup, and while it may not boast much - if any - Serbian street cred, it does make a comforting and perfect meal on a chilly night.

Roasted Eggplant, Chicken, and Orzo Soup
~ 1 large eggplant, cut into 1" cubes
~ 1 package vegan chicken, cut into ½" pieces (I used Beyond Meat strips)
~ 2 tbsp. olive oil
~ 1 large red onion, diced
~ 1 large stalk celery, diced
~ 1 large carrot, diced
~ 1 small red bell pepper, diced
~ 2 tbsp. minced garlic
~ 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
~ 1 tsp. each: cumin, chili powder, oregano, marjoram, dill
~ ½ tsp. each: ginger, turmeric, cayenne
~ Dash cinnamon
~ 8 cups no chicken broth
~ ½ cup orzo
~ 1 cup plain, unsweetened soy (or other non-dairy) milk
~ 2 tsp. cornstarch
~ Juice of 1 large lemon
~ 1 cup chopped, fresh parsley

~ Preheat the oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit.
~ Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray and place it in the oven for a few minutes. When the pan is hot, arrange the eggplant cubes in a single layer and give them a good shot of cooking spray and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Roast for about 20-25 minutes, flipping them at the halfway point. The eggplant should be tender and quite brown.
~ Transfer the eggplant to a dish and arrange the "chicken" pieces on the same baking sheet. Lower the heat to 400 and return the pan to the oven for 10 minutes; remove and set aside.
~ In a large pot, sauté the onion in the olive oil over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Add the carrot, celery, and bell pepper and cook 5-7 minutes more, until softened.
~ Stir in garlic and dry seasonings (smoked paprika through cinnamon) and cook another minute or two, until fragrant.
~ Add the broth, raise the heat to high, and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 10-15 minutes.
~ Add the roasted eggplant, chicken pieces, and orzo to the pot, stir to combine, and continue cooking for 15 minutes.
~ In separate bowl or beaker, which together the soy milk, corn starch, and one cup of broth from the cooking pot. Add this mixture to the soup and cook about 5 minutes more.
~ Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and fresh parsley, and serve hot.


  1. I'm missing Vegan MoFo and was going back thru the Randomizer and came across your blog! Glad I did! Neat place you have here!

    1. Thanks for the kind words, and for sharing your blog! I love that randomizer, too - it's led me to so many great blogs and recipes I might never have seen otherwise.