Chicken and Orzo with Olives and Lemon
I l.o.v.e. this dish.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Greek, Comfort Food
- extra virgin olive oil
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into thick slices (about 5 per breast)
- 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 Tablespoon cumin powder
- 1 Tablespoon paprika (regular, hot, or smoked)
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 cup orzo pasta (uncooked)
- 1 bag baby spinach (5 oz)
- 1 lemon, sliced into about 7 slices (and take out the seeds)
- 1 cup olives without pits (castelvetrano or mixed greek olives)
- 2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
- Heat a dutch oven or a braiser (that's a braiser in the photo) over medium high heat.
- Also preheat the oven to 350.
- While the dutch oven is heating, lay the chicken in a single layer on a plate or small pan. Cover the chicken with the spices, and don't be sparing!
- Add a bit of olive oil to the pot, and swirl it around.
- Sear the chicken pieces, browning the outside. It doesn't have to cook through, because the chicken will cook for longer once the dish is assembled. You will probably need to sear the chicken in two batches.
- Remove the chicken from the pot, and add the diced onion to the same pot. Add a little oil if the pot is too dry.
- Once the onion has cooked for a few minutes, add the orzo, and cook, stirring often, until the orzo starts to brown (this will give it good flavor).
- Add the spinach, and cook until the spinach has wilted. Turn off the burner.
- Now the dish is ready to assemble and bake!
- Spread the orzo mixture in an even layer. Add the chicken pieces, lemon, and olives, evenly spreading everything on top of the orzo.
- Pour the broth (you could also use water) into the pot slowly in one corner.
- Cover tightly with foil, and place the lid on the pot.
- Cook for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and cook for another 10-15 min more.
- The completed dish may be soupy, or it may not. It is great either way! Leftovers will soak up any extra liquid, too. Make sure you get some of each component of the dish in each serving for the best flavor.
Things I love about this Chicken and Orzo with Olives and Lemon:
- The colors!
- It’s fast to make, and is pretty much a one-pot meal.
- The. Olives. I like olives, but cooking them adds a whole new dimension. I also add a little olive brine to the orzo sometimes.
- The. Lemon. It’s particularly great when reheated – it gets soft and really infuses flavor.
- I found the starting point for this dish in a Mediterranean Diet cookbook. The diet didn’t last, but this dish did. I shared it with a few friends, and it became a favorite pandemic dish for us to enjoy – together apart. And there were definitely attempts that resulted in one or more of us finishing the olives for dinner before we could get around to cooking. #pandemic
- I added the onion and spinach to the recipe – they aren’t necessary, but I love adding vegetables to make it a more balanced meal. I have been adding baby spinach to everything recently.
- Try mixing up the spices and using others – just don’t be sparing! The extra will flavor the orzo.
This recipe evolved from “One-Pot Paprika Chicken with Olives and Orzo,” in The Weeknight Mediterranean Kitchen by Samantha Ferraro.
Tell me what you think!