Lemon Orechiette Pasta Chicken Soup


2 Tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
3 Tbsp Berbere Spice Blend
2 boneless chicken breasts
3 Cups onions, chopped coarsely
3 plum tomatoes, sliced
2 stalks lemongrass, thinly sliced
3 Tbsp Coriander Seed
3 Tbsp Cumin Seeds
3 Tbsp Fennel Seeds
8 Cups chicken stock
1/2 Cup chopped fresh cilantro
8 oz orecchiette pasta, freshly cooked
3 plum tomatoes, seeded, chopped
1/2 Cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Fresh lemon slices (optional)

Heat oil in a heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken breasts with Berbere Spice and saute until cooked through, about 4-5 min per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to plate.

In same pot, add chopped onions and tomatoes, along with lemongrass, coriander, cumin and fennel. Saute over medium heat until mixture fragrant, about 2 min. Add stock and 1/4 Cup chopped cilantro. Simmer 20 min to blend flavors.

Strain broth into heavy large saucepan. Slice cooked chicken crosswise into thin strips; add to broth. (Can be prepared up to this point in the recipe, up to one day in advance; cool soup, cover and refrigerate.)

Cook and drain the orecchiette pasta according to package instructions.

(If chicken and stock were made in advance, remove soup from refrigerator and warm gently on med-low heat on the stove.) Raise temperature to a simmer, and add cooked pasta, chopped tomatoes, lemon juice and remaining 1/4 Cup cilantro to soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

When soup is warmed through, ladle into bowls; garnish soup with lemon slices, if desired.