Saturday, January 4, 2014

Lemon Chicken and Orzo Stew

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a great Christmas and that 2014 will be a year of dreams come true!! Have you made any resolutions for the new year? Me, I don't make resolutions, but I do set goals. One of my goals for 2014 is to live life without false limitations and by false limitations, I mean the restrictions we set for ourselves, the ones we tell ourselves (maybe subconsciously) can't or shouldn't be done. Starting with this blog!
When Yvonne and I started LiveBakeLove 2 years ago, we set out to share our love for baking. Every recipe posted for the past 2 years involves using the oven to bake or roast in some way, shape or form, but what about all of the other recipes we love? Yvonne's Mom has a treasure trove of family recipes that have been in her family for generations. Why can't we share those? Why can't I share the family recipes that I love to make for my family? So, restrictions be damned!  We're throwing caution to the wind and opening LiveBakeLove up to any recipe we want to share!
Come along with us into this brave new year. I promise it's going to be great!

I'm kicking it all off with this Lemon Chicken and Orzo Stew. I often get asked for soup recipes and now I'm free to share them on the blog. Yay! This Lemon Chicken and Orzo Stew has all of the classic Greek flavors of Lemon Chicken Soup, but is made thicker to be more the consistency of a stew. Don't worry, you can always increase the amount of chicken broth if you prefer a soupier consistency. After all, that's the beauty of cooking.

Lemon Chicken and Orzo Stew
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 1" cubes
5 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 celery ribs, sliced into 1/4" slices
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4" slices
1 leek, whites cut into 1/4" slices and thoroughly cleaned
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
5 cups good quality chicken broth or stock
1 cup water
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Kosher Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon fresh Thyme (or dried Thyme if you don't have fresh)
1 cup orzo pasta

Note: You can sub oregano for the thyme for a more classic Greek taste, but I recommend the thyme; it compliments the flavor of the lemon juice really well

Place the cut chicken thighs in a large bowl and pat dry with paper towels. Season with salt & pepper, then sprinkle the flour over the chicken and toss to coat.

In a large heavy bottom pot or Dutch Oven, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken on all sides in batches so you don't overcrowd the pan. Remove the chicken to a plate as you brown them.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pot and reduce heat to medium low. Add the onions, carrots and celery and sauté for a few minutes until they begin to soften. Add the garlic and leeks and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for about 30 seconds to 1 minute stirring often to prevent burning the garlic.

Add the chicken broth, water and thyme. Stir well to loosen up any browned bits at the bottom of the pot. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer on low for about 20 minutes.

Add the chicken and orzo. Cover and simmer for 7-10 minutes or until Orzo is tender. At this point you can add more chicken broth if you want a soupier consistency, just simmer for another minute if you do add more broth to help bring the flavors together.

Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking (add more salt, pepper, lemon juice, thyme..)



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