Mains, Poultry, Salads, Sides

Chicken Orzo “Salad” Meze

I made this on a camping trip to Catalina Island.  Granted, it was a bit more labor intensive than cracking a can of beans, but it tasted delicious next to the lapping waves.  I cooked the whole dish in one skillet and I used fresh basil and mint.

Ingredients:

  • orzo
  • chicken broth
  • rosemary sprig
  • 1/2 sliced lemon, 1/2 juiced lemon
  • grape tomatoes, halved
  • red onion, diced
  • ~1 tsp dried thyme or fresh mint and basil, chopped
  • olive oil
  • cooked chicken breast, chopped
  • salt & pepper

Orzo takes about 10 minutes to cook (uncovered).  I can never get the water:orzo ratio right, but I believe it’s something like half an inch of fluid atop the orzo. I usually use less liquid than that, cook it uncovered for ten minutes at a simmer, then cover it for 5 minutes (off the heat) to finish cooking–this ensures that the orzo aren’t soupy and mushy.  Adjust the amount of vegetables and herbs to your liking.

Method:

  1. Bring the broth, rosemary sprig, and sliced lemon in a saute pan to a boil. Add the orzo and cook uncovered for 9-10 minutes.
  2. Mix in the tomatoes, red onion, herbs, and chicken.
  3. Toss with olive oil and lemon juice.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.

What else?

With enough chicken this can be a whole meal.  I call it a meze because it feels more like an appetizer–it needs a little something more (and it’s not chicken).   I have a strange suspicion that it would taste really good with chunks of pineapple, or could even garnish a thick soup, or chicken chili.  Oftentimes orzo is used in soups as the pasta element.  If you wanted to makes this vegetarian, add some garbanzo beans and use vegetable broth.  Grilled Thyme Peaches would be a great dessert to this, or even Nassy Dressed Fruit.

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