Wild Recipes

Duck and Lemon Soup with Orzo

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The ancient Persian practice of cooking meat with fruit has catapulted us into a world of waterfowl recipes that now include Duck a l’Orange, Duck with Plum Sauce, Duck with Fig Jam, Duck with Raspberry Sauce, and Duck with Baked Apples. Therefore, it wasn’t a stretch for me to assume that a few duck breasts bathed in chicken broth with a squeeze of bright lemon juice wouldn’t be a bad idea.

I come from a family who eats a lot of potato soup, creamy tomato soup, and clam chowder – everything is creamy and dreamy! However, my wife and 8-year-old daughter don’t get very enthusiastic when I reach in the fridge for the half & half or whipping cream.  They are huge soup fans during the long cold winters we have here in North Dakota, but prefer something comforting without being heavy.

One spoonful of this light and wholesome Duck and Lemon Soup with Orzo had them cozy on up to the big bowls I had placed before them. The chunks of tender duck meat with fresh vegetables and durum wheat pasta makes a well-balanced bowl of goodness. I used durum wheat pasta because 80% of all U.S. durum wheat is grown here in North Dakota. We grow the best tasting wheat and the best tasting ducks! If you ever want to come to Theodore Roosevelt’s favorite state and chase waterfowl, be sure and look me up. I just might know of a good spot to recommend – whether you are looking to hunt from a layout blind or in a pair of waders.

Serves: 6
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Also Make With: Goose

Looking for more duck recipes? Try this Seared Duck Breast with Pumpkin Cream Rigatoni!

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Duck and Lemon Soup with Orzo

Recipe by Jeff Benda
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Course: Wild Recipes


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  • 6 duck breasts (from 3 ducks)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 3 eggs

  • Juice of 2 lemons

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced

  • 1 cup carrots, diced

  • 2 stalks celery, diced

  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic

  • 8 cups chicken broth

  • 1 cup durum wheat orzo

  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped


  • Pat dry the duck breasts with a paper towel, place them on a cutting board and tenderize them using a Jaccard meat tenderizer. Then using a sharp knife, chop them into 1-inch pieces. Season the meat with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt.
  • In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs and lemon juice and set aside.
  • Heat a 5-quart or larger soup pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil, butter, and duck meat and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring often. Remove the duck meat and transfer to a plate.
  • In the same large soup pot, add the onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the garlic and sauté another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  • Add the orzo and cook 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in the spinach and cooked duck meat and remove from heat.
  • To the egg-lemon mixture, add 1/2 cup of warm soup broth, one tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly, until it’s smooth and creamy. You don’t want to go too fast or you will end up with scrambled eggs. Now slowly stir the egg mixture into the pot of soup until everything is smooth and creamy.
  • Stir in the other 1 teaspoon of salt, black pepper, and chopped dill and serve immediately.

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Jeff Benda

Cooking gives me a creative outlet to transform wild game and bring it into traditional recipes from around the world to help expand people's perceptions. My goal is to celebrate local fish and wild game and provide achievable, bright recipes designed to build confidence for new cooks, and inspire everyone to elevate their cooking. I hope that by sharing and celebrating the food I create with the fish and wild game I harvest, I can highlight the great contribution so many hunters and anglers have made to conservation in this country, and reflect the freedom we have to enjoy America's great outdoors.

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