Chicken With Orzo

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I love this chicken and orzo recipe. It is so fast and easy, yet it’s a meal that tastes like it took forever to make. The sauce is simple but full of Italian flavor. Orzo is pasta shaped like rice, but softer. I used to eat it with my dad when I was a kid and I totally forgot how much I loved it. That’s why I decided to combine it with my favorite chicken recipe for an even better meal!

One Pot Chicken and Orzo

One pot chicken and orzo with onions, tomato, garlic. Delicious! Quick and easy too.

Skillet Chicken and Orzo
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A few months ago my wonderful mother made what I thought was Spanish rice (a favorite around here, basically a rice pilaf with tomato) but instead of browning rice to start the pilaf, she browned orzo pasta.

Brilliant! It was so incredibly good. Silky and savory like our sopa seca de fideo angel hair dish, but with little rice-shaped orzo pasta. The browning of the orzo adds a toasty nutty flavor to the pasta.

So, I thought I would step the idea up a notch and make something akin to arroz con pollo, except with pasta instead of the arroz. It would be “Orzo con Pollo.”

One Pot Chicken and Orzo

It’s a winner! And the best part? Aside from it being absolutely can’t-stop-eating delicious, is that it’s really easy to make, all in one large skillet.

First you brown the chicken, then brown the orzo in the rendered fat, and then add some onions and garlic. Add the chicken back to the pasta, pour in some stock and crushed tomatoes, cover and cook until the pasta has absorbed the liquid.

You can do most of the prep while the chicken is browning, so the whole shebang takes maybe 35 minutes.

Skillet Chicken and Orzo
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One Pot Chicken and Orzo

PREP TIME5 mins

COOK TIME30 mins

TOTAL TIME35 mins

SERVINGS4 to 6 servings

To save time, while the chicken is browning, prep the onion, garlic, and parsley.

You can easily swap out the thighs for bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. Depending on the size of the pieces you may want to cut them in half.

If you use boneless, skinless thighs or breasts do not brown them as long in the first step. They will not need as much cooking time as the bone-in, skin-on thighs.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 2 cups (12 ounces or 340g) orzo pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion (about 1 medium onion)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 1/4 cups chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup canned crushed tomatoes (including juices)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Method

  1. Prep and salt the chicken:Trim the chicken thighs of excess skin and fat. Sprinkle both sides with a little salt.
  2. Brown the chicken thighs:Heat olive oil and melt butter on medium high heat in a large skillet (large enough to fit all of the chicken pieces) to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, pat the chicken pieces dry on both sides with paper towels and place skin-side down in the pan. Let cook for 5 minutes or until the chicken has browned on one side.skillet-chicken-orzo-method-1skillet-chicken-orzo-method-2Then turn the chicken pieces over and cook for another 4 minutes until lightly browned. Remove the chicken from the pan, set aside.
  3. Brown the orzo pasta, add onions, garlic:Add the orzo pasta to the pan. Stir to coat and let the pasta brown. Once the orzo starts to brown, stir in the chopped onions.skillet-chicken-orzo-method-3skillet-chicken-orzo-method-4Reduce the heat to medium and let cook, stirring often for 2 to 3 minutes until the onions begin to soften. Add the minced garlic and cook a half minute more.
  4. Stir together stock tomatoes, salt, pepper:In a large measuring cup, stir together the chicken stock, crushed tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1 teaspoon of salt.
  5. Add back chicken, pour stock mixture over orzo:Place the chicken pieces skin-side up, on top of the orzo.skillet-chicken-orzo-method-5skillet-chicken-orzo-method-6Pour the stock tomato mixture over the orzo. Increase heat to medium high and let the stock in the pan come to a full boil.
  6. Cover and cook:Lower the heat to the lowest heat you need to maintain a bare simmer. Cover and let cook until the orzo has completely absorbed the liquid and the chicken is cooked through, about 10 to 12 minutes.Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.skillet-chicken-orzo-method-7Taste for salt and pepper and add more if needed. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley to serve.

reamy Chicken Orzo

  • SERVES: 6
  • PREP TIME: 15 min
  • COOK TIME: 35 min
  • CALORIES: 326
creamy chicken orzo with carrots, celery, onions and garlic  in  a bowl
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Just carrots, celery, onions and garlic flavor this soothingly simple, risotto-like creamy chicken orzo recipe. Grab some crusty bread and call dinner DONE.

Simple, Fast, Cozy.

If you have already-cooked chicken handy—either from a store-bought rotisserie chicken or maybe some poached chicken you cooked as part of your weekend meal prep—this one-pot creamy chicken orzo comes together insanely fast. Like, 20 minutes fast. Even if you need to cook some chicken—we recommend a quick poach—our risotto-y chicken and orzo is still relatively quick to make. And it’s oh-so-comforting. Basic veggies, a little garlic and a hint of creaminess make this one-bowl supper comforting and familiar, in the very best way. Cold season is here, friends, but fear not! This cozy, creamy chicken orzo is sure to heal (or at least soothe).

Ingredients for Creamy Chicken Orzo carrots, celery, onions, garlic
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What Is Orzo?

If you’re asking yourself “is orzo rice or pasta?” you’re not alone! Orzo does look a lot like rice, but actually orzo is pasta! Just like all of the other classic Italian pasta shapes that we love, it’s made from semolina flour—although you can find some whole wheat varieties on the market now. Our savory, chicken-y creamy orzo treats the pasta a bit like risotto rice, letting it absorb the gently flavored chicken broth over the course of a quick simmer. However, since orzo is a pasta, it’s even more forgiving than risotto—in other words, it’s easier! Yay for that.

carrots, celery, onions in a soup pot
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carrots, onion, celery, chicken stock and orzo in a soup pot
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shredded chicken, chicken stock, carrots, onion and celery in a soup pot with a wooden spoon
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creamy orzo chicken casserole
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8 Ingredients Are All It Takes to Make the Best Orzo Ever.

OK, so it’s just eight ingredients if you give us olive oil, salt and pepper, but those are a given, right? You can’t make anything without oil, salt and pepper. Here’s what you’ll need to make this easy, creamy chicken orzo:

  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Garlic
  • Chicken stock
  • Cooked chicken.
  • Orzo
  • Parsley

Greek-Style Chicken Orzo

You’ll love this comforting one-pan chicken orzo recipe, prepared Greek-style! Boldly seasoned chicken, nestled in a mixture of tiny orzo pasta with onions, bell peppers, and tomato and baked to tender, creamy perfection. Easy and satisfying.

Chicken orzo dinner in large oval pot
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Chicken dinners are always a winner at my house. And luckily, there are so many options from juicy baked chicken thighs, to chicken piccata and grilled souvlaki, which make a lot of during the summer months.

But as a busy home cook, I’m always up for one-pan dinners, and I’ve been rotating between chicken and rice with warm Middle Eastern flavors and today’s bold and comforting Greek-Style chicken orzo, which is my girls’ favorite!

Why this chicken orzo bake works!

There is so much I love about this chicken orzo bake! A comforting, one-pot meal to feed a hungry little crowd, that’s for sure. But the real draw is in the flavors!

Boneless chicken thighs take on a bold seasoning with dried oregano, paprika, and coriander. Then, the chicken is nestled in a mixture of tiny orzo pasta with aromatics including onions, garlic, tomatoes, and bell peppers. Yes, it is what we call around here, a flavor party!

Once baked in the delicious, flavor-packed tomato broth, the orzo soaks up all the goodness and turns extra plump, and the result is a velvety, creamy chicken orzo! This is all the comfort without the use of any butter or heavy cream.

And for me, a sprinkle of good feta cheese seals the deal on this comforting orzo recipe.

Fewer dishes to clean is never a bad thing, but just be sure to grab something like a large Dutch oven or oven-safe pot to fit all the ingredients.

Chicken and orzo dinner served in a large pot with heads of garlic on table
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What is orzo?

Orzo is not rice. It is a tiny, short-cut pasta that is shaped like a large grain of rice. Orzo is traditionally made from wheat semolina flour or white flour but you can find whole wheat and gluten-free versions as well (so even my gluten free friends will have a way to make this!)

Orzo pasta is super convenient and quick to cook. That’s exactly why I keep it on hand to use in everything from a one-pot orzo with chicken, to shrimp soup, or even a vegetarian main like this orzo recipe tossed with chickpeas and zucchini.

How to cook orzo?

As with any pasta, the typical way to cook orzo is in salted boiling water, and it will take somewhere around 8 minutes or so. If I am making it to use in an orzo salad or just as a plain side or bed for a saucy shrimp recipe, that is how I would cook my orzo. But today’s recipe is different.

In something like this Greek orzo recipe with chicken, you do not need to cook the orzo in boiling water first. Instead, dry orzo is baked in the flavorful, tomato broth with the chicken and vegetables all in one pot. It will take about 20 minutes in the oven, and the result is velvety, creamy, extra plump orzo pasta that everyone loves!

How to make chicken and orzo

To make this easy, weeknight orzo recipe, be sure to grab a large Dutch oven or oven-safe pot to fit the chicken, orzo, and vegetables. Here is how it goes:

  • Season and brown the chicken
    Mix together 2 teaspoons oregano and 1 teaspoon each paprika and coriander with a good pinch of kosher salt and black pepper. Then get rub this spice mixture all over the chicken (both sides). Squeeze a lemon all over the chicken and set aside for a few minutes as you work to prepare other things.
    In your Dutch oven, heat up some good extra virgin olive oil and brown the chicken on both sides. This will take 8 to 10 minutes or so. Transfer the chicken to a plate so you can use the Dutch oven for the rest.
  • Sautee the vegetables
    Grab 2 bell peppers, any colors you like, and cut them into rings. Throw the peppers in the pot and cook until they gain some color.
    Set the peppers aside and throw some chopped onions (2 cups) in the pot. Cook the onions for a bit, then add some minced garlic and cook a little bit longer, tossing regularly

    Greek chicken orzo served on a light blue plate
  • Add the liquid to make a broth for the chicken and orzo
    To the pot, add some peeled whole tomatoes from a can (yes, use the tomato juices as well) and add 2 cups of chicken broth. Bring everything to a boil.
  • Add the orzo and chicken
    When the liquid boils, add 2 cups of dry orzo and let that boil a bit. Nestle the chicken into the delicious orzo mixture. Top with those beautiful bell peppers you sautéed earlier.
  • Bake in 350 degrees F oven for 20 to 25 minutes
    Tranfer your pot to the oven. Bake uncovered until the orzo has cooked through and has absorbed the majority of the liquid. When you take it out, cover it and let it sit for 5 minutes until the liquid is fully absrobed.
  • Finish and serve
    For me, a drizzle more extra virgin olive oil, the good stuff, and a sprinkle of feta is the perfect way to finish this dish!

What to serve with it?

When I made this the other night, all I added as a side was my easy Greek salad to carry on the theme. But if you like, you can add a starter or two like Greek baked feta or melitzanosalata with your favorite crusty bread.

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