This is my father-in-law’s recipe for orzo with chicken and sun dried tomatoes. It is the perfect light meal for a warm summer night, outdoor concert, potluck or picnic. It tastes good warm, it tastes good cold and is frankly the best room temp pasta dish I’ve ever eaten. I have no clue to the recipe’s original origins but a quick Google search revealed a bucket full of orzo recipes including one with garlic and shrimp that’s got me thinking.
My father-in-law was a man’s man, one of those guys of a certain generation who expected his wife to prepare dinner. However, when he retired his daughter, my wife, suggested he might try cooking, after all, she told him, “Many of the great chefs are men.”
And while not enthusiastically receptive at first, that chef statement stuck with him and he started watching Graham Kerr during his morning exercise. Who could deny that watching a cooking show isn’t the best thing to do while exercising? Next thing you know he’s pulling recipes off the web and well, he discovered edible chemistry!
The man found a new passion and with it came kitchen gadgets galore, cookbooks, salmon en croute, email recipe swaps, homemade kitchen inventions such as his homemade Sausage Patty Pack designed to hold and safely dispense a single homemade breakfast sausage patty.
We all benefited from his new found passion, learned new things, ate well and probably drank too much but such is life.
This orzo recipe tastes best with tart lemons, not sweet Meyer lemons, and we use fresh oregano but of course any will do. As for the chicken, we buy smoked chicken breast from our local BBQ restaurant or a roast chicken from Costco. It makes for quick work and tastes great.
Orzo with Chicken and Sun Dried Tomatoes
Prep Time: About 8:00 minutes
Cooking Time: About 12:00 minutes
Tools you’ll need:
A Large Bowl for Mixing
A Screen Strainer
A Spoon for Stirring
A Kitchen Knife or Cleaver
8 oz. Orzo – Lemon Flavored if possible
1 – 1.5 Cups Smoked or Roasted Chicken, Diced
.25 cup Sun Dried Tomatoes, diced (add more if you like)
.25 cup Chicken Broth
Fresh oregano to taste
.5 cup Feta Cheese, Crumbled
Cook the past according to package directions, drain and place in a mixing bowl.
We found a Colorado orzo pasta that is lemon flavored, which really enhances this dish but plain orzo is good too.
Add the diced chicken and diced sun dried tomatoes and mix.
Add the ¼ cup of chicken broth. We use Wyler’s powder so you can make as much or as little as you need for a recipe. The broth moistens the pasta and adds a nice flavor but you could add pasta water if you don’t have stock.
Add the juice of half of the lemon. We like the lemony taste and frequently add more. It’s to your taste.
Drizzle some olive oil over the pasta, lightly. Note: if you used sun dried tomatoes packed in oil then you may not need to add olive oil or you can add a bit of the oil from the tomatoes.
If using fresh oregano chop and add to mixture. We use a small bunch. If you use dried oregano, start with a small amount and add more to your taste.
Add the feta crumbles and mix. Taste and adjust seasonings – add salt to your taste and more lemon juice. You can eat it right away or chill and it’s even better the second day.