Knowing how much I LOVE roasted chicken, a very good friend sent me this recipe last week in the hopes that I would make it for him, not very sneaky, but effective! I loved the idea of the lemon zest, garlic and tarragon with the chicken and I thought that the orzo was an interesting and yummy sounding addition - especially since it cooks all in one pot! It was so delicious and easy and once it's in the oven you are pretty much done. Great for entertaining or a weekday dinner too, comfort food at it's finest. Inspired by a recipe from one of my favorite chefs, Nigella Lawson.
One Dish Chicken + Lemon + Orzo
3 T olive oil
1 3½ lb chicken, preferably free-range and organic
zest and juice of 2 lemons
3 big cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
2 medium leeks, cleaned well and cut crosswise into 1/2" circles
2 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp chile flakes
2 tsp dried tarragon
4 cups cold water
2 1/4 cups chicken stock
1¾ cups orzo pasta
6 T Italian parsley, finely chopped leaves, plus more to serve
Preheat the oven 350°. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based casserole/Dutch oven with a tightly fitting lid. Place the chicken in the hot oil breast side down until the skin is nicely browned, 3 - 5 minutes over medium high to high heat, then turn the chicken breast side up. Turn down the heat and add the lemon zest and minced garlic around the sides of the chicken and give it a quick stir into the oil as best you can. Scatter the prepared vegetables around the chicken, followed by the salt, chile flakes and dried tarragon.
Pour in the cold water and stock until the liquid comes up about two thirds of the leg of the chicken, leaving the golden breast exposed, then add the lemon juice. Bring the pot to a boil uncovered. Once boiling put on the lid and place in the oven for 1 hour 15 minutes.
Take the pot out of the oven and stir in the orzo, around the edges of the chicken, put the lid back on and bake for another 30 minutes, the orzo should be soft and swollen by then.
Remove from the oven and take off the lid and let it stand for 15 minutes, Give the orzo a stir to loosen any that has stuck to the bottom of the pan. The orzo will continue to soak up some of the broth as it sits.
Stir in 4 T of the parsley, and then sprinkle over the remaining 2 T. Put some extra in a dish on the table for diners to add for themselves or sprinkle over as you serve.
This dish is so gorgeous and home-y, I love to bring the pot to the table with the chicken whole.
Bring a small dish to the table and carefully remove the skin and bones from the chicken with 2 spoons, stripping off the meat of the chicken, and shredding as you go. Stir the meat and orzo again before serving, add more parsley. You may want to offer parmesan to grate over too, YUMMY!
Alternately, take the chicken out of the pot to remove the bones and skin, adding the meat back to the orzo.
As a caterer for over 30 years, I have established a reputation for consistently creating original menus inspired by the occasion and the season, presenting them with an ease and elegance uniquely my own. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are the basis of my creative “from scratch” menus, which range from the classically elegant to rustic and whimsical.
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