Monday, April 13, 2009

A Chicken to Impress - Lemon Chicken with Orzo

"What are you making for dinner?" My Mother asks over the phone.
"I'm making your lemon chicken with orzo." I say, she laughs, "That's what I just made!" This is particularly funny since the last time I made this dish a few weeks ago, the same thing happened.

And no wonder! It looks and tastes amazing, but it's deceptively easy to make. Well...most of the time anyway. Recently I made it for a boy I wanted to impress. We talked as I assembled and cooked, and it was all just about ready to go, I was just draining the orzo and spinach when he distracted me with a kiss on the top of my head. Klutz that I am (not to mention easily distracted) orzo and spinach spilled out into the sink, un-salvageable. We stood in amazement for awhile, and realizing I was near tears, he saved the day by dashing down the block for more supplies. 20 minutes later we were back in business!

When I asked my Mother where she picked up this recipe she attributed it to an article in the Oregonian Daily Newspaper. Goes to show you that good things come out of Oregon (though the dish is probably Italian in nature). I suggest making it for someone you want to impress! They're bound to stick around for seconds (at the very least)!

Lemon Chicken with Orzo

2 chicken breasts, with skin and bones, cut into 2 pieces each (I've also used regular boneless skinless chicken breasts and they work fine as well, thighs would also work)
1 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
3 large garlic cloves, crushed
juice of 2 lemons (about 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons fresh oregano

1/2 cup kalamata olives (pitted and halved) I also like to use about 1/4 cup or a little less of the brine, just pour it in with the lemon juice
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (halved)
2/3 cup orzo
5 ounces fresh spinach (about 5 cups)

Heat oven to 475 degrees. Place the chicken in a roasting pan, cast iron skillet or oven proof skillet, skin-side up. Pour the olive oil over chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add garlic, lemon juice and oregano, kalamata olives and tomatoes to the pan and place in oven to roast for 20 minutes. Meanwhile bring enough salted water to a boil in a saucepan for the orzo. Add the orzo and cook for 10 minutes. Add the spinach to the orzo saucepan and then drain. Add olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Toss well. When chicken is done, add the orzo mixture to the skillet or pan and mix together. Serve hot!


  1. Just emailed you with recipe questions. :)

  2. I had some trouble with the formatting of this recipe when I first posted, the first portion wasn't readable! I seem to have been able to fix it, but Kim made a good point, you definitely do not need that much water for the pasta. Cook your pasta as you always would but keep checking so that it's al dente at the end, but so that there is still enough water to be able to immerse the spinach at the end. Also, if you're using boneless skinless breasts I suggest using 3 lemons instead of 2, and adding some of the brine from the Kalamata Olive Jar to help with the amount of liquid.

  3. Having all your yummy recipes in one place is awesome! This one is one of my favorites and I love that now i can just pull it up on the interweb to try it out!!! btw, what's granita?!?!