Roast Chicken with Orzo Recipe
I don’t want to keep harping on about Greece, but we really did have the best holiday this summer. Greek food, because let’s face it, holidays are all about food and drink, is bloody lovely. So fresh, oregano scented and almost 90% cheese based. Since we got home a) I’ve been miserable b) I’ve been on an ouzo and rosé detox and c) I’ve been cooking with a lot of feta and oregano. This Roast Chicken with Orzo recipe is my Greek-ish homage.
Well, I’m lying slightly, it’s actually Diana Henry’s homage, but I love her and super hope I’ve done her recipe justice. This is a great chicken based one pot affair. It’s almost a love it and leave it dish, with the chicken roasting first then the orzo’s added and cooked around it for the last 20 minutes. As a gift with purchase your chicken is stuffed with a mixture of bread, tomatoes, feta and herbs, which creates another bit of tasty bulk to this great Sunday lunch recipe. That could be why this Roast Chicken with Orzo is a resounding hit with my huge male based family.
I have made this three times in 3 weeks and not just because I was recipe testing on your behalf. This is just the most delicious, simplest family chicken dish, whether you’re a Greekophile or not.
The chicken here is the star of the show, rather than the rather sad looking two slices of white bread in the forefront. If you have something rather more rustic then do please go for that. Also, I only had one large tomato, so added a couple of cherry ones to my stuffing, improvisation is my middle name.
Make a start on this dish by pre-heating your oven to 160 degrees fan assisted and by oiling a shallow medium sized baking tin. Add the chicken to the tin.
Now prepare the stuffing. I made mine in the Magimix, but you can also make it by hand. Start with the bread, blitzing it into crumbs.
Now add the tomatoes, feta, 1 teaspoon of oregano, garlic and 4 tablespoons of olive oil.
Give this a light pulse, you don’t want puree, you want a sort of herby, cheesy crumb. Season well with salt and pepper.
Stuff your awaiting chicken with this fragrant mix, in the neck end, then bring the two flaps together with a skewer or toothpick. Sorry to be so brutal about this.
Drizzle the chicken with the final tablespoon of olive oil and the final teaspoon of oregano. Season with S & P then pop into the oven for an hour and 15 minutes.
After an hour and 15 take the chicken out of the oven. Tip the orzo around the chicken. Don’t worry if some of the stuffing has escaped, it will just mix in with the pasta, adding flavour. Pour on the stock and give it a little stir.
Pop the whole lot back into the oven for a further 20 minutes. If the orzo is looking dry, half way through, then add a little more stock. The finished dish will be golden, the pasta cooked and the chicken juices will run clear when you poke it with a skewer.
Sprinkle the finished dish with some fresh parsley or oregano and serve with a green veg or salad. I went for some roasted courgettes, featuring, yes, more oregano.
My carving skills are bloody awful; I have been known to get a chicken to barely feed 2 people. Luckily, you can hide appalling carving underneath a blanket of tender, herby orzo and stuffing and no one will be any the wiser.
Roast Chicken with Orzo Recipe
1 large chicken, around 1.8kg
2 slices bread, around 75g, something rustic or just go for sliced white
75g feta, crumbled
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped, or use a heaped teaspoon from a jar
2 teaspoons dried oregano
350g orzo pasta
750ml chicken stock
salt and pepper
Fresh herbs, parsley or oregano works, to garnish and something green to serve
Pre heat your oven to 160 degrees fan assisted and oil a medium sized roasting tin.
Take your chicken and place in the oiled baking tin. Either using your food processor or a bowl and some good chopping skills, make the stuffing. Blitz the bread slices into breadcrumbs then add the tomatoes, feta, 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, garlic and 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix well or process until just mixed, you don’t want this to be a puree. Season with salt and pepper.
Pack the chicken with the stuffing in the neck end then seal with a toothpick or skewer. Drizzle the chicken with the last tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle on the other teaspoon of oregano. Season then bake in the pre heated oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
When the time is up, sprinkle the orzo pasta around the chicken. Don’t panic if some of the stuffing has come out, this will just add to the flavour of the pasta. Pour on the chicken stock and stir the orzo gently. Put back into the oven for a further 20 minutes or until the pasta is cooked. You may need to add a splash more stock if it’s looking dry half way through.
Sprinkle the dish with some fresh herbs and serve with a green vegetable, I chose roasted courgettes and they were lovely. Any leftovers re-heat beautifully.