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Creamy Lemon Orzo Risotto with Chicken | Patience Is a Virtue

August 5, 2016

        Lemon. Cheese. Risotto. Chicken. Need I say more. These exquisite flavors go together better in this dish than gambling in Vegas. Come to think of it, maybe that's not the best comparison- gambling in Vegas can get you into trouble.  Let's try this again. Goes together better than Beyonce on stage twerkin' it out. Better? Eh, I guess a tad. Anyways, I think you get the point, this dish wins. 

          I'm always trying to find ways to bring sexy back into dinner meals. Another boring chicken and rice dish? No thanks not for me, maybe my husband will be up for it, but he ain't getting it!  We're about to  transform ordinary chicken and rice into something wonderful. Meet Orzo, a rice pasta of sorts, perfect for risotto. Not something you see on every menu, or at home for dinner, so I figured why not bring a little technique into your weeknight meal. A super flavorful dish with hints of thyme and lemon finished off with creamy milk and cheese, topped with seasoned chicken, will turn your Wednesday night into a party in your mouth. But balance is key in this dish. Without the lemon it would be too creamy and without the creamy cheese goodness it would be too tart. You can't have too much of one thing without having the other. Maintaining balance in your dishes and in your life outside of the kitchen will set you up for success. Find time out of your busy schedule to kick back and get in your zone. Read a book, meditate, work out, go for a walk- whatever it may be, nourish yourself and find the balance between good/bad, too much/ too little, tired/awake. Learn to create a masterpiece of balance like this Creamy Lemon Orzo Risotto with Chicken. 

          I got you covered with everything you'll need. First things first, open your chicken stock and pour it into a small saucepan over medium heat, keep warm and set aside. You will use this stock to cook your orzo in. 

Chop up your mushrooms, dice that shallot, minced that garlic, grate that cheese (or if you are too darn lazy buy it already grated), mince the thyme, juice and zest the lemon, and okay I think I got it all under control. 

Now get out your prettiest medium sized saucepan, I used a 3 QT one, but a 4 QT one is a-okay too! Go ahead and heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Once they are cooked you can remove mushrooms and transfer to a bowl; set aside. I like to use a slotted spoon, but a regular spoon works great too!

 

In the same saucepan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter, the garlic and shallots- cook those delicious guys until soft, about 3 minutes. Now you can add the orzo, lemon zest, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook for 2 minutes.

 

Here comes the most important part when making risotto, patience! Patience is key because risotto is a nice and slow process, you can't rush her- risotto is known for being a diva; she takes a long time to get ready. Once it's time to add the reserved chicken stock, you are going to want to add only  1/4 cup at a time until all the liquid is absorbed before adding next amount. This way risotto, in all her glory, will be able to float and not drown. Be sure to frequently stir the risotto, so it doesn't stick to the bottom. Continue adding 1/4 cup of stock until you use all 4 cups and the orzo is tender, about 30 minutes. Patience I tell you! Oh and I prefer to use a ladle, but a measuring cup works fine too, if you don't have one. 

Once you've poured all the liquid in and the risotto absorbed it, you can add the  milk. Remember to stir often, until the orzo becomes thick and creamy, about 4 minutes. Your orzo risotto will bare an uncanny resemblance to mac n cheese and once it looks all gooey-ooey, you're done. 

You won't need to practice using your patience anymore, you're welcome! The best things in life don't come easy, but this is pretty easy on the hard scale. You can remove the orzo from the heat and mix in the  reserved mushrooms, lemon juice, and cheese. Cover with foil to keep warm. 

In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Season both sides of the chicken breast with salt and pepper and place them in the hot skillet. Cook, turing once, until firm and golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from heat and transfer chicken to a cutting board. Slice the chicken into 1/2 inch strips. 

 

On a serving plater, arrange the orzo on bottom and place the sliced chicken breasts on top. Garnish with thyme and slices of lemon. Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese on top. Serve hot, enjoy! 

 

 

Creamy Lemon Orzo with Chicken

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 

Yield: 4 servings 

 

Ingredients:

4 cups chicken stock

3 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups (4 oz. package) mushrooms, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 shallot, minced

1 1/2 cups orzo

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced

1/3 cup milk

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 cup parmesan cheese 

1/4 cup gouda cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound thinly sliced chicken breasts (4 to 5 breasts)

Salt and pepper, to taste 

 

Directions: 

In a small saucepan, heat chicken stock over medium heat, set aside and keep warm. 

 

In a medium saucepan (about 3-4 QT), heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add chopped mushrooms and cook until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Remove mushrooms and transfer to a bowl; set aside. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, garlic and shallots; cook, stirring until soft, about 3 minutes. Add orzo, lemon zest, thyme, pinch of salt, and a few cracks of pepper; cook 2 minutes. Add reserved chicken stock 1/4 cup at a time, cooking until all the liquid is absorbed before adding the next amount. Cook, stirring frequently, until all the liquid is absorbed and orzo is tender, about 30 minutes. Add milk, stirring often, until orzo becomes thick and creamy, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in reserved mushrooms, lemon juice, and cheeses. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Cover with foil to keep warm. 

 

In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Season both sides of the chicken breast with salt and pepper and place them in the hot skillet. Cook, turning once, until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from heat and transfer chicken to a cutting board. Slice the chicken into 1/2 inch strips. 

 

On a serving plater, arrange the orzo on bottom and place the sliced chicken breasts on top. Garnish with thyme and slices of lemon. Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese on top. Serve hot, enjoy! 

 

- theWholeELchilada 

 

 

 

 

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MADE BY ELIANA

 WITH LOVE

 Think Good

and it will be Good.

© 2015 The Whole ELchilada

Private Chef Services - New York City

thewholeelchilada@gmail.com

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