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This one pot garlic herb chicken and orzo recipe is a delicious and easy Italian-inspired dish that is perfect for a weeknight meal. Juicy and tender chicken thighs are cooked with orzo in a flavorful garlic and herb tomato sauce, all in one pot!
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What makes this dish special
Just recently, my husband declared that he is starting to enjoy cooking. Oh, the joy! Luckily, that meant I could put up my feet and watch TV while he put together dinner. And what's even more impressive is that the meals have been very delicious. Yes, I know, I'm bragging. But this may be the best thing that has happened to me all year.
I still plan our meals, so I need to pick dishes that aren't too complex or time-consuming. Not saying that the hubs can't cook them, but I'm such a considerate wife that I pick easier meals for his sake. That means one pot meals, sheet pan dinners, and anything that can be prepped ahead of time. Here's where this one pot garlic herb chicken and orzo enters the picture. This dish is easy enough for him to prepare but still tastes delicious. Hopefully, you'll find it just as easy and tasty as we did!
- Chicken thighs: Can be substituted with chicken breasts or even bone-in chicken, but the cooking time may need to be adjusted accordingly. You can also swap out the chicken for shrimp or fish. I like to purchase my chicken from Farm Foods.
- Orzo: A type of pasta similar in shape and texture to rice. Substitute orzo for another small-shaped pasta like ditalini or pearl couscous. You can also use rice or quinoa instead but you will have to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
- Cherry tomatoes: If cherry tomatoes aren't in season, you can use canned diced tomatoes instead.
- Balsamic vinegar: Adds acid to the dish along with a slightly fruity and tangy flavor. If you can't find balsamic vinegar, use sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar instead.
How to make one pot garlic herb chicken and orzo
Step 1: Brown the chicken
To begin, season boneless, skinless chicken thighs with a blend of garlic powder, oregano, salt, and pepper. Allow the chicken to sit for ten minutes to absorb the flavors. Heat up a Dutch oven or a deep pot and add a tablespoon of olive oil. If you don't have a Dutch oven, use any other heavy-bottomed pot.
Sear the chicken thighs in the pot until browned on both sides. We just want to sear the chicken and not fully cook it. Remove the chicken and set it aside.
Step 2: Toast the Orzo
In the same pot, melt a tablespoon of butter and add chopped onions. Sauté the onions until they are softened, which should take about four to five minutes. Add minced garlic and red chili flakes to the onions and continue to sauté for another minute. Add the orzo to the pot and toast it for a minute, stirring to coat it in the melted butter.The California Wine Club's Premier Series, the most popular of all the clubs.
Toasting orzo before cooking is a great way to enhance its nutty flavor and bring out its natural aroma. By toasting it, the pasta grains become slightly crispy and golden brown, creating a delicious texture that complements the other ingredients in the dish.
Additionally, toasting the orzo can help prevent it from becoming mushy when it's cooked in liquid, as it creates a protective barrier around the pasta that helps it retain its shape and texture. Toasting orzo is a simple step that can make a big difference in the overall flavor and texture of a dish, so it's worth the extra effort.
Step 3: Cook
Now it's time to add the tomato paste, Italian seasoning, balsamic vinegar, cherry tomatoes, and chicken stock. Return the seared chicken thighs to the pot, nestling them into the orzo.
Bring the pot to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer the dish for fifteen minutes or until the orzo is cooked and tender. The liquid should have been absorbed by the orzo, the tomatoes should be softened, and the chicken fully cooked.
Step 4: Finish the dish
Once the orzo is cooked, remove the lid and sprinkle grated parmesan cheese and fresh basil on top of the dish. The garnishes are optional but highly recommended. The extra sprinkle of parmesan adds a touch of umami while the basil adds a sweet, peppery finish.
This one pot garlic herb chicken and orzo is a simple and hearty dish that can be prepared with minimal effort, making it perfect for a weeknight dinner. The combination of seared chicken, orzo, and cherry tomatoes in a savory sauce is truly irresistible.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, you can use any small pasta like ditalini or pearl couscous, but keep in mind that cooking time may vary. You can also use a grain instead such as rice or quinoa.
Although this dish is best enjoyed immediately, you can make this dish ahead of time. Just keep in mind that the orzo may become a bit mushy as it sits. To serve, reheat in the oven or on the stove with a splash of chicken stock.
More one pot recipes
Looking for more one pot recipes? Try these:
One Pot Garlic Herb Chicken and Orzo
- 6 chicken thighs boneless, skinless
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 medium onion diced
- 6 garlic cloves minced
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
- 8 ounces dry orzo
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 ½ cups chicken stock
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil
- ¼ cup grated parmesan
- Season chicken thighs with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, and oregano, tossing to coat. Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a Dutch oven or deep pot over medium heat. Lay chicken in an even layer and sear until browned on both sides. You may have to sear the chicken in batches if they don't fit all at once. Remove chicken and set aside.
- In the same pot, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add chopped onion and saute until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic cloves and red chili flakes and saute for another minute. Add orzo and toast for 1 minute, stirring to coat.
- Add tomato paste, Italian seasoning, balsamic vinegar, cherry tomatoes, and chicken stock. Add chicken back to the pot, nestling them in the orzo. Bring to a boil, cover the pot, and reduce heat to low. Continue to simmer until orzo is cooked and tender, about 15 minutes.
- Remove lid and top with grated parmesan and fresh basil. Serve immediately.