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a blue pot with orzo, olives, chicken and mozzarella cheese

One pot cheesy chicken and orzo

  • Author: lechefswife
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 30
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Mains
  • Method: one pot
  • Cuisine: French

Description

Tender chicken thighs simmered in a Provençal sauce with olives, tomatoes, peppers and fresh herbs topped with melted mozzarella and basil. This one pot, cheesy chicken and orzo recipe can be made in under 30 minutes and is super simple to prepare. A taste of the South of France that you can make any night of the week and that your family will love.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 lbs skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 small white onion (about 1 cup of chopped onion)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 3 cups of diced, fresh tomatoes (about 5 tomatoes)
  • 3/4 cup of sliced, pitted black olives (I like to use Kalamata olives, they are fleshy and flavorful and easy to find)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2.5 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups Orzo
  • 1 mozzarella ball, sliced (about 4oz)
  • 1 bouquet garni (2 sprigs of rosemary, 2 sprigs thyme, 2 sprigs oregano tied together with string, see below). If you don't have fresh herbs available, use a tbsp of Herbes de Provence instead.
  • 1/3 cup sliced basil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. *Le Chefs Tip* Pre-chop all of your ingredients before you turn on the stove top. This is your "Mise en Place", or preparation, that will make cooking much less stressful! Chop the onions, garlic, peppers and tomatoes.
  3. Trim the chicken thighs. Leave the thighs whole but slice off any excess fat and run your thumb around the side to make sure there are no bone chips left. Chicken thighs are notorious for having little chips left in the fat on the sides.
  4. Over medium heat, drizzle olive oil into a dutch oven or oven safe pan.
  5. Add the chicken thighs and allow to sear for 3 minutes on each side.
  6. Flip over the chicken thighs and sear for another 3 minutes
  7. Remove the chicken thighs from the pot and set aside
  8. Add the chopped garlic, onions and red pepper into the pot
  9. Using a rubber spatula (so not to damage your pot) scrape the bottom of the pot to get all the flavorful brown bits into the onions, garlic and red pepper mixture.
  10. Once the onions have begun to brown, add in the tomatoes.
  11. Add in the bouquet garni or Herbes de Provence
  12. Stir and let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  13. Add in the chicken stock, bring up to a simmer.
  14. Pour in the orzo and stir.
  15. Return the chicken thighs to the pot and lower the heat to medium low.
  16. Stir again to make sure the orzo is not sticking to the bottom of the pan. If it is, lower the heat further.
  17. Cover and allow to cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently to keep the orzo from sticking.
  18. Add in the olives.
  19. Turn off the heat and stir. There should be just a little liquid in the dish - the orzo will continue to absorb the liquid as it rests.
  20. Remove the bouquet garni from the pot, discard.
  21. Add the sliced mozzarella over the top and transfer the pot, uncovered, to the oven on the middle rack
  22. Allow for the mozzarella to melt over the dish - about 5 minutes.
  23. Remove carefully from the oven and sprinkle with the sliced basil.
  24. Serve immediately and enjoy the cheese pull as you dish out the chicken thighs.
  25. Bon Appétit!

Notes

How to make a bouquet garni

A bouquet garni is simply a little bouqet of herbs (thats my kind of bouquet!). By tying fresh herbs together you save yourself trying to fish them out one, by one, when the cooking is done. A bouqet garni can vary with the recipe, depending on the herbs that you would like to use to flavor your dish.

In this recipe we use Provençal herbs to give off that distinctive, South of France flavor. Simply take 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, 2 sprigs of rosemary and 2 sprigs of oregano and tie them together with a little cooking twine.

Voilà! You have a beautiful bouquet garni that will add delicious flavor for your dish and will be easy to remove before serving.

Keywords: One Pot, Orzo, chicken dinner, chicken and Orzo, Provencal, Provençal