YOUVETSI: BRAISED CHICKEN WITH ORZO IN A LIGHT TOMATO BASED SAUCE
- Serves 6
- 1 pound orzo pasta
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 chicken cut up, washed and dried (about 4 ½ pounds)
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes in their juices
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 cups chicken stock
- Fresh chopped parsley for garnish
- 1 cup or more grated parmesan cheese
- 1 cup ice cubes
With the weather cooling down, this is a delicious, quick one pot wonder. From start to finish this can be prepared in one pot which translates to less clean up, and who doesn’t love that? I used a large Dutch oven pot. I love
these cast iron enamel covered pots. They distribute heat very evenly and are pretty easy to clean.
This dish is traditionally made with lamb or beef, but I had chicken and a little bit of time so that’s what I used. Use whatever you have. Follow the same recipe for beef or lamb. Just increase the cooking time from 35 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes or until the meat is falling off the bone.
Here's how you can make this too:
Cook the onion in the olive oil over medium heat until it’s soft and golden. This usually takes about 10-12 minutes. Don’t rush it. It can burn. Add the chopped garlic and cook another 5 minutes or until it too is soft and golden. Do not move away from the pot because the onion and garlic can burn! Then you’ll have to start all over….
Add the chicken, salt, peppers (crushed red pepper and black pepper)and cook for a few minutes. Today, I used boneless, skinless chicken thigh meat. I usually have this cut of meat in my freezer. I love it because it’s juicy and flavorful. Also, everyone gets a meaty serving and nobody is fighting for their favorite piece. That happens a lot around here… Problem solved 🙂
Add the tomato sauce, paste, cinnamon, bay leaf, cloves, oregano and 1
cup of the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
Cover the pot and place in a preheated 375 degree oven and bake for 35-40 minutes.
Remove the pot from the oven and discard the cinnamon stick, the bay leaf and the cloves
Heat the remaining 3 cups of chicken stock in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the stock, orzo and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of salt to the chicken and bake it for 15 minutes covered. Uncover it and give it a nice stir. Bake it uncovered for another 10 minutes raising the heat to 400 degrees. This will give the stew a nice golden brown
Remove from the oven and sprinkle about a 1 cup of ice cubes into the stew and mix well. This will keep the orzo from getting overcooked and gelatinous. Sprinkle with parmesan, kefalotiri or feta. Whatever you have. Garnish with fresh, chopped parsley and serve 🙂