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sunday night roast chicken, orzo’d up

2014 February 24
by taiyyaba


A month or so after Hamza was born, his Uncle Joey and Aunt Marcy and Cousin Ellie came to visit. Before they came, I took one day to prepare and put away several meals so I could spend more time with the family and less time in the kitchen. I’ve always had success making this chicken meatball mixture ahead of time and freezing it, and this time I turned it into meatball and mozzarella subs (by the way – searing them and then baking in a tomato sauce to serve with rice = also excellent). I made a killer shepherd’s pie filling which Ameir loved (semi-problematic because I can’t really remember what I put into it….) and refrigerated it in a 13×9 pan, so all I had to do was make mashed potatoes, top it, and bake when ready. And, in my standard people-coming-over meal, I froze three spatchcocked chickens that I had stuffed with herb butter. Defrost and surround with veggies to bake.

Fast-forward a couple of months to Raleigh’s own personal SNOWMAGEDDON. (This was a real snowstorm, okay? 6+ inches y’all. Yankees, stop hating.) Hamza and I were both sick before it started, so I really didn’t have the time or energy to think ahead about what to get from the grocery store. Add to this that I’m trying have us eat through the freezer before I restock. I had one of those frozen chickens leftover, plus some frozen veggies and a pack of orzo (which is possibly my favorite pasta).

I threw all those things into my dutch oven and a big ol’ pot of yummy resulted. This meal has many of my favorite elements – roast chicken, butter, garlic, herbs, stuff cooked in savory broth, one pot meals, comfort foods, and lovely leftovers. It’s Sunday night dinner, pumped up.

IMG_0016 One-Pot Roast Chicken and Orzo

1 whole chicken, butterflied
garlic-herb butter
1 pack of orzo
at least 2 cups of frozen mixed veggies
2 cups of broth
fresh parsley

IMG_0018_2(to butterfly a chicken, place the chicken breast-side down on a board and use sharp kitchen shears to cut out the spine. push down to flatten and then snip out the ribs from behind the breast.)

1. stuff the garlic-herb butter under the chicken skin and sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.
2. heat some olive oil in a dutch oven. sear the chicken on both sides and remove to a plate.
3. in the leftover oil (and now a bit of melted butter), add the uncooked orzo and stir to cover with the oil. i prefer to leave it in there for a bit till some of the orzo get golden brown.
4. add in the frozen mixed veggies and stir around until the frostiness goes away. pour in the broth and add a teaspoon of salt or so (to taste, really).
5. kind of but not really flatten the orzo and veggie mixture. don’t compact it but spread it into an even layer. place the chicken on top and place the cover on the dutch oven.
IMG_00216. bake covered in a 350F oven for 1 hour. uncover and broil for just a minute or two if you want the skin to be more crispy. scatter with fresh chopped parsley and serve with fresh cracked black pepper on top.

when i store this, i shred the chicken and take out the bones (and freeze so you can make odds and ends broth) so you just yummy chicken orzo for leftovers.


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