Pork isn’t often used in making soup but I had a huge pork loin to use. I used it in making a schnitzel dish and crockpot smothered pork chops. It was a gloomy and grey day outdoors and soup was the comfort food I was craving. A soup filled with tender chunks of pork, a handful of greens and orzo. I use the tiny orzo pasta buttons when I want a fun soup!
I thought a crockpot bubbling away for a few hours would cheer up the mood, (ok, me), and fill the house with wonderful smells. With some minor chopping and searing I’d have a crockpot full of pork soup goodness in no time.
I started by searing some diced onions in a drizzle of oil in the removable pot of my slow cooker. I like using the Westbend one when I’m going to sauté ingredients first for a one pot meal. As the onions lightly browned I cut the meat into smaller pieces and removed the fatty bits. I was using the imperfect end of the loin that had some gristle and fat.
The meat browned as I diced two large carrots and two ribs of celery, including the leaves. When the meat was seared I added the vegetables to the pot along with 5 cups of chicken broth. I let the pot come to a boil over medium high heat and once it was bubbling away I placed the pot on the base of the slow cooker.
I’d added salt, pepper and garlic powder to the pot, stirred it and put the cover on the slow cooker. I let the soup cook on high for two hours without removing the lid. If you’re using a crock pot that can’t be put on the stove, just put soup into the crock pot, cover and cook on high for 2 hours.
After two hours I taste tested the broth and found it was just right. No salt or pepper was necessary. I stirred in a cup of orzo shaped like little buttons and put the cover back on for another hour on high. I stirred the soup after 30 minutes and the orzo was getting nicely plumped up. I let it continue to cook for 30 more minutes.
At the 3 hour mark the soup was ready for the final step: the greens. I had a bag of spinach and had roughly chopped up a couple of handfuls. I stirred it into the soup and let it cook for about 10 minutes. It was still bright green and made the soup look so good I couldn’t wait for dinner!
We had our pork soup with sandwiches for dinner and were both happy with the flavors. Although the base was chicken broth the addition of the seared pork created a rich and delicious soup. The vegetables and orzo added to the flavors and textures in pleasing ways.
Pork and greens soup was a success and a keeper! The grey day didn’t drag me down! I liked the bright green of the spinach greens as a contrast to the orange of the carrots. The white orzo was just a bonus. The tender bites of pork were interesting in a soup where chicken or beef are more common. I think the soup would freeze well but ours didn’t last long.
Pork and Greens Soup
1/4 cup onion; finely diced
drizzle of oil
1# pork tenderloin; diced
5 cups chicken broth
2 large carrots; diced
2 ribs celery with tops; diced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup orzo (I used the round button shape)
2 cups spinach; roughly chopped
Salt to taste
In the pot of a slow cooker or a skillet, sauté the onions in a drizzle of oil for several minutes over medium high heat. Add the pork and sear for 3 or 4 more minutes until it is browned.
Place onions and pork in a crockpot or return the pot of the slow cooker to the base. Add chicken broth, carrots and celery, garlic powder and black pepper and stir well. Turn heat to high, place lid on the slow cooker, and let cook for 2 hours.
At 2 hours, taste test for seasoning adding salt and pepper as desired. Stir in orzo and replace lid. Let cook another hour.
Roughly chop spinach and stir into the soup when the hour is up. Let cook 10 minutes until wilted, stirring several times.