chicken and orzo with lemon and olives

It’s grey outside today and I’m welcoming fall with open arms. Last week I drank chai tea and I’ve been eating early heirloom apples with abandon. I even wore a light jacket once already and am dreaming about tights and tall wooly socks. My polka-dot umbrella is right beside the front door and I know that soon enough I’ll be splashing through the streets in my green rubber boots.

And so you can see the appeal of this dish. It’s cozy and comforting and dotted with lemon slices to remind us of the not-so-distant sun. Got a rainy dreary day? A meal like this one with orzo, chicken legs, oregano, lots of lemon and packed with flavour makes me crave the comfort of autumn.

delicious low fat lemon tea loafan affordable cut of steak turned delicious

elsewhere: I was interviewed by phone for the lovely blog Dramatic Pancake. You can read my story about this little unassuming but completely delicious (& low fat) little lemon loaf & even catch a goofy glimpse of me in my home. And over at Poppytalk this week, I dig into my food memories and come up with a recipe for chuck steak with onions, sweet peppers & zucchini. It’s amazingly tasty and an easy way to stretch your food budget. Serve it with some steamed rice and you’ve got an easy weeknight meal.

Recipe note: Ideally, I would have used rich and oily Kalmata olives from our local deli in this dish, but since I had some canned sliced black olives to use up, in they went. Freakin’ tasty, regardless.

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41 comments to “chicken and orzo with lemon and olives”

  1. 1
    Lydia   September 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Oh yum, this dish is exactly the sort of thing I like to make. It reminds me of a chicken and rice dish that’s in Amy Sedaris’ cookbook. I love orzo, but I’ve been denying myself it because it’s not healthy like quinoa or other grains. Whatevs, I’ll probably get over that like I got over denying white rice for brown rice.
    I have to totally disagree with you on fall though! All those things you listed bummed me out.

  2. 2
    Joanne   September 22, 2011 at 3:24 am

    I love all olives equally so I love that you used plain black olives! It’s so great that this cooks all in one pan. Definitely a plus.

  3. 3
    shellie   September 22, 2011 at 7:25 am

    oh my lemons chicken olives and orzo yum yum yum but thats a word one can always use here. i cant wait to try it.

  4. 4
    kickpleat   September 22, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Lydia, I have Amy Sedaris’ book but never made anything from it! Maybe I’ll have to try something from it :) And yeah, get over the orzo/pasta thing – it’s so good! And sorry for bumming you out about fall. I’m kinda bummed out today with all of this rain.

    Yes, Joanne the fact that it’s an all-in-one dish is pretty great – and it’s tasty too!

    Thanks Shellie, it’s pretty tasty and very yum!

  5. 5
    LizAnderson   September 22, 2011 at 9:35 am

    I’m hunting for a long lost box of orzo right now!

  6. 6
    Leah   September 22, 2011 at 11:21 am

    I’m so going to try this! If I used 2 chicken breasts instead of the 4 legs – do you think it changes the cook time? I’m totally clueless at cooking…. Thanks!

  7. 7
    Michelle   September 22, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Love the coziness of this dish! I need to get my hands on some orzo!

  8. 8
    Bijoux   September 22, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    My 2 cents: The chicken/rice dish featured in Amy Sedaris’ book is inspired by a traditional Greek recipe that uses orzo with meat (chicken or beef). A salty, hard cheese is sprinkled on top. A simple, yet tasty dish.

    This particular dish has more of a Moroccan flair with the added lemons and olives which I personally love. I can’t tell you how much I adore Moroccan food!!!

    Glad to hear you normally would use Kalamata olives from your local deli shop…LOL! I forgive you for using canned ;) haha!

  9. 9
    Loretta   September 22, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Our bellies are full and happy! This was our supper tonight. Very yummy and full of olivey goodness.

  10. 10
    kickpleat   September 23, 2011 at 8:53 am

    Go Liz, find it and make it :)

    Leah, if you use bone-in chicken breasts I think the time would be similar. However, if you are using boneless, they would cook quite rapidly and I’d probably advise against it, fearing the meat would be dry. If you do give it a go, let me know how it turns out!

    Thanks Michelle, it’s perfectly lemony and cozy!

    Bijoux, thanks for your cents ;) I’ll have to try the Sedaris recipe out! And I’m glad you forgive me for using canned olives here.

    Loretta, so glad you enjoyed this dish!

  11. 11
    Dawna   September 24, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Well, I love chicken, lemon, orzo, and olives. So I think I’ll be making this soon!

  12. 12
    Kathryn | Dramatic Pancake   September 24, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    In keeping with the lemon theme, I think I’ll have to make your lemon loaf for breakfast and this lemony chicken for dinner tomorrow :)

  13. 13
    Matt   September 25, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Love your blog! But just wanted to say chai MEANS tea. Chai tea just means you are saying tea tea.

  14. 14
    Rachel   September 25, 2011 at 10:09 am

    We just made this for dinner last night, and while I have never had orzo before, we will be making this dish often! Soooo delicious. It tasted to me like a Greek spin on chicken and noodles, and given the yucky weather we’ve been having, it was perfect! Thank you!

  15. 15
    michele   September 26, 2011 at 7:53 am

    I think I will try adding vegetables instead of chicken.

  16. 16
    hena   September 26, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Mmm that looks very good.

  17. 17
    betsy   September 26, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Thanks for the recipe, it’s quite tasty. I used orecchiette (worked well in the same amount of time), added white wine and used a combination of a bone-in breast cut in half and several legs. Next time I’ll add peas at the end.

  18. 18
    Lynn   September 27, 2011 at 7:22 am

    Oooh, perfect way to welcome fall! I’ve got a lovely mental picture of you with your polka dot umbrella and green rain boots splashing through puddles! :-)

  19. 19
    Gemma   September 27, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    What a gorgeous dish! I love that first overhead shot. What a lovely time of year.

  20. 20
    Tinkerbelle (@Lillyheart999)   September 28, 2011 at 4:25 am

    this sounds awesome!!

  21. 21
    Kimberley   September 28, 2011 at 9:40 am

    I am totally in love with this chicken. Last year I found myself in a chicken rut – always roasting whole and I got kind of sick of it. Yay for fall! We’re in the thick of our indian summer but I am with ya on the cozy times.

  22. 22
    paige   September 29, 2011 at 11:29 am

    yum, trying this tonight with quinoa rather than orzo for the gf members of the family–there may or may not be carrots added to the pot at the last minute. Dear Maude, my children love carrots, no matter the dish. Lemony carrots sound good, no?

  23. 23
    kickpleat   September 29, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Enjoy, Dawna – it’s a good recipe!

    Kathryn, sounds like a perfect combo :)

    Matt, I know chai means tea, but it’s a hard habit to break. What’s wrong with a little tea tea?

    So glad you enjoyed this dish, Rachel!! Hooray!

    Michele, I think it would work wonderfully – toss in some chickpeas too for added bulk!

    Thanks Hena.

    Betsy, glad you enjoyed it and I like the changes you’ve made. Wine and peas, yum!!

    Haha, thanks Lynn!!

    Thanks Gemma, it is a lovely time of year – if you can get past all the rain & grey :)

    Tinkerbelle, thank you, it is.

    Hooray for indian summers, Kimberley (now I’ve got that Beat Happening song stuck in my head!).

    Paige, I’m curious how it will turn out with quinoa! And I think carrots will make a mighty fine addition!

  24. 24
    Laura   October 2, 2011 at 2:39 am

    My family loved this dish! And it took less time to make than I expected, which almost never happens. They have also loved the ginger miso chicken and the roasted shrimp and broccoli. I can’t remember the last time I was three for three on new recipes.

    We have one dark meat fan and three white meat fans in the family, so I have made the chicken dishes with a mixture of thighs and breasts. Two of the white meat fans are coming over to the dark side, lol. I’m not sure why the the slightly gamey flavor of the dark meat seems so much milder in these two recipes, but YUM!

  25. 25
    kickpleat   October 2, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    Laura, I’m so glad to hear that you’ve had good luck with my recipes! Hooray!!

  26. 26
    Ashley   October 5, 2011 at 8:53 am

    I’m going to send my mom this recipe! I think she’d really like it. And I love that you filled up half your plate with raw veggies. :D

  27. 27
    Esther   October 5, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    My boyfriend made this for me today and it was so so tasty!! Thanks a lot for sharing!

  28. 28
    kickpleat   October 10, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Thanks Ashley, I always love a good portion of veggies & salad with any meal!

    Esther, so glad you loved this & how nice to have such a great boyfriend.

  29. 29
    Kate   October 10, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    This is comfort food to the max, and I love the combination of chicken & lemon. Thank you for sharing this! It looks like an easy “bake it ’till you make it” kind of dish, perfect for a Dutch oven.

  30. 30
    kickpleat   October 17, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Thanks Kate, I think so too. It’s delicious.

  31. 31
    rene kent   October 21, 2011 at 3:13 am

    i like all olives equally so I love that you used plain black olives! It’s so nice that this cooks all in one pan. Definitely a plus.

  32. 32
    Fiona   October 26, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Hi Kickpleat! If I don’t have an oven-proof pot to use, can I let it simmer on the stovetop for the same amount of time? Thanks!

  33. 33
    kickpleat   October 26, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Thanks Rene! One dish recipes are a big help.

    Fiona, yes, I think you could easily do this on the stove top. Just check in occasionally and make sure the juices run clear before you dig in. Let me know how it goes!

  34. 34
    Irena   November 6, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Hi Kickpleat, thanks for posting this delicious-looking recipe! I finally got around to making this, however, it didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped; somehow the lemon leeched a weird bitterness into the dish, and there’s not a single bite of it that’s immune from this bitter-pith-y taste. Did this ever happen to you? Do you have any tips on avoiding scary lemon flavors?

  35. 35
    kickpleat   November 7, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Irena, sorry to hear about your bitter lemon woes. I didn’t get an overwhelming bitterness when I made this, maybe your lemon was particularly thick with pith? Choose a thinner skinned lemon. Or just use lemon zest along with lemon slices with the pith removed. Or just use the juice and the zest. Hope that helps!

  36. 36
    Lydia   December 19, 2011 at 11:09 am

    I finally made this and it was wonderful! I’ve never had baked orzo before and I loved it. I didn’t have olives, so I used marinated artichoke hearts because I figured it had the same flavour profile. Pretty good, but I will defo try again with kalamata olives.

    I see I had a similar problem to Irena, but it didn’t permeate the dish. Just whenever I accidentally ate a lemon seed. You can’t see them! And I accidentally put an entire wedge of lemon in my mouth that was hidden in a lump of orzo, but that was only temporarily unpleasant.

  37. 37
    Pam   January 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    This one is now in regular rotation at our house, along with the masala shrimp curry, the roasted brocolli and shrimp, the roasted cauliflower with sumac and the black bean and sweet potato chili. Kick this recipe up a notch (and avoid any bitterness) with preserved lemons. You can make your own easily, or be even lazier and buy them in a jar. Love my local Iranian grocery store! I also add some Aleppo pepper. Thank you so, so much for introducing me to that! I tell everybody about your blog.

  38. 38
    Nicola   September 9, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    I make this without the orzo and olives and I love it!

  39. 39
    Maria   January 3, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    I made this tonight! Delish!!! I had to exercise lots of will power not to eat it all.

  40. 40
    Katie   February 17, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    Just got done enjoying this dish and my husband loved it! Different flavor from what we usually eat and I loved it! Might add some artichoke hearts next time.

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