One-Skillet Chicken Thighs with Buttery Orzo

I had saved this recipe a couple of months ago just waiting for my CSA box fennel to arrive. As soon as I saw it on my list of veggies to expect, I knew exactly what I was going to make. 🙂 I love how the orzo is cooked like risotto in this dish- the results were amazing.

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit, contributed by Claire Saffitz. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of bone-in. I also increased the amount of fennel and used a sweet onion instead of a leek. We ate it with sautéed collard greens as well as sautéed yellow summer squash, also from my CSA box, of course. Easy, fresh, and delicious.

Yield: 4 to 5 servings
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 5 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, patted dry
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped, plus fronds, chopped (I used 1 1/2 bulbs)
  • 1/2 Vidalia onion or 1 leek, white and pale green parts only, chopped
  • 8 ounces orzo
  • â…“ cup dry white wine
  • 2½ cups chicken stock, divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  1. Preheat oven to 400°, preferably on convection.
  2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.
  3. Heat 2 T butter in a medium cast-iron skillet (I used a 10-inch skillet) over medium-high.
  4. Nestle chicken, skin side down, in skillet in a single layer with no gaps (if you can’t quite fit them all, wait until chicken shrinks slightly, then puzzle in the remaining pieces). Cook until meat is opaque around the edges, about 4-5 minutes.
  5. Turn chicken browned side up and transfer skillet to oven; bake, uncovered, until chicken is cooked through, about 4 additional minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.
  6. Set same skillet over medium; combine chopped fennel bulb and leek/onion in skillet and sprinkle in some salt and pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until leek is looking golden around the edges, about 5 minutes.
  7. Add orzo and cook until pasta is darkened (it will take on a brown hue) to a nice nutty brown in spots and toasty smelling, about 3 minutes.
  8. Pour in wine and cook, stirring, until liquid is evaporated, about 1 minute.
  9. Add broth ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting broth absorb before adding more, until orzo is tender and broth is mostly absorbed but pan is not dry, 10–15 minutes.
  10. Remove skillet from heat, taste and adjust seasoning. Mix in lemon juice and remaining 1 T butter, then chopped fennel fronds.
  11. Nestle and pile chicken on top and finish with lemon zest.
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Corn & Zucchini Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese

I love the first batch of zucchini in my CSA share- and finding new ways to enjoy it. The spicy, creamy, lime dressing in this dish was absolutely delicious. We are huge cilantro fans in my house so the fact that this dish was loaded with one of our favorite herbs made this dish a winner.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Kay Chun. I shaved the frozen goat cheese over the top, which was noted as the fancy chef tip in the original recipe. I think I would have preferred to have just crumbled cold (not frozen) goat cheese on top! Next time. 🙂

I’m bringing this festive summer side to share at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #128. My dish from Fiesta Friday #127 was a feature this week! Yay! Check it out and join the party.

  • 3 ears of corn, shucked
  • 1 pound small zucchini or summer squash, halved lengthwise (about 2 large)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound orzo
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot (I used 1 medium shallot)
  • 1/2 teaspoon guajillo or ancho chile powder
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 2 ounces fresh goat cheese, frozen for grating or refrigerated for crumbling
  1. Light a gas grill or heat a grill pan.
  2. In a 9 x 13-inch pyrex dish or large bowl, toss the corn and zucchini with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Grill over moderate heat until charred and crisp-tender, about 10 minutes for the zucchini and 15 minutes for the corn.
  4. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool. Cut 
the kernels off the corn cobs and coarsely chop the zucchini; set aside.
  5. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the orzo until al dente. Rinse under cold water to cool. Drain well and spread the orzo out on a baking sheet; pat dry with paper towels.
  6. In a large bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the lime juice, shallot, chile powder and 1/2 cup of the cilantro; season with salt and pepper.
  7. Add the orzo, corn, zucchini and the remaining chopped cilantro and mix well. Transfer to a platter or serving bowl.
  8. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the frozen goat cheese all over the top and serve. (Alternatively, crumble cold goat cheese over the top.)

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Baked Orzo, Bacon, Feta & Spinach Custard

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We ate this flavorful and custardy pasta dish for dinner with a green salad. This dish from Mike Isabella, of Top Chef fame, would also be wonderful for a brunch or lunch. It is quiche-like with pasta instead of crust. This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine. I doubled the spinach and used one percent milk and fat free Greek yogurt. GREAT!

Yield: Serves 6

  • salt for pasta water
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 12 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 pounds leeks, white and tender green parts only, cut in half & thinly sliced (about 3 large leeks)
  • 18-20 ounces baby spinach
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • Freshly ground pepper and coarse salt for seasoning
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (fat free okay)
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used 1 percent)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the orzo until al dente. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  2. In a large skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat until browned, 8 minutes. Add the leeks and cook until tender, 8 minutes. With a slotted spoon, add the leek mixture to the orzo. Drain the remaining fat, leaving 1 tablespoon of fat in the skillet. Add the spinach to the skillet in batches and cook until wilted; transfer to a colander and press out the excess liquid (I squeezed it with tongs). Add the spinach to the orzo, fold in the feta and season with salt and pepper.
  3. In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the yogurt and milk, season with pepper and stir into the orzo. Scrape the mixture into an oiled 12-by-8-inch baking dish and bake for about 35 minutes (on convection) to 45 minutes, until the eggs are set and the top is browned. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

One Year Ago: Chicken and Dumplings

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Corn Chowder with Zucchini, Scallion & Orzo Topping

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This dish is summer in a bowl. 🙂 It tastes like sweet creamed corn with tasty toppings. The pasta in the topping makes this soup a complete meal. The topping also adds a nice contrasting texture. DELICIOUS!!! This recipe was adapted from Everyday Food.

  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 large zucchini, diced medium
  • 1/4 pound orzo
  • 1 large bunch of scallions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 cups corn kernels (from 4 ears), cobs reserved
  1. Cook orzo in salted, boiling water according to package directions. Drain.
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high. Add zucchini and sauté until crisp-tender, 4 minutes. Stir in orzo and heat until warmed through. Remove from heat and toss with scallion greens; season with salt and pepper. IMG_4703
  3. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in saucepan over medium-high. Add scallion whites and sauté until tender, 3 minutes. Add corn and cook until tender, 3 minutes. IMG_4699
  4. Add 3 cups water and corn cobs to the corn and scallion mixture and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook until chowder thickens slightly, about 8 minutes. Discard cobs and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Puree chowder with a handheld immersion blender. Serve chowder topped with zucchini mixture.

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