Olivia is a food stylist, recipe developer & cookbook author living in NYC. Her work has appeared both on the pages of magazines and on billboards in Times Square. Helping people cook with more confidence is her #1 passion.
Having easy, one-pan dinners in your back pocket is the key to looking like a hero come mealtime, especially on busy days. This dish is the perfect example: Chicken, orzo, spinach, and feta come together into a complete meal that’s quick enough for a weeknight, but beautiful enough to serve to friends at a dinner party. It’s easy and delicious and, best of all, won’t load up your sink with a ton of dishes. Read on for our best tips to making it the best it can be.
Let’s start with your pan:
Most importantly, it needs to be ovenproof and large enough to hold all the orzo and chicken. A lot of pans will work, though a large, wide skillet with high sides is ideal. Avoid using anything too deep to avoid running the risk of too much moisture getting trapped on top of the dish, causing the chicken to steam rather than bake.
Next up, the chicken:
Drying your thighs well with paper towels will ensure that the skin gets crispy, not soggy. Start with the chicken skin side down in the pan, and try to resist the urge to move it around—if you move the chicken before the skin has rendered its fat and crisped up, you risk tearing it. The chicken will let you know when it’s ready when it releases itself from the pan and can be easily checked. At that time, you can take a peek and see if it's golden enough for your liking.
The finishing touches:
A lot of the flavor of this recipe comes in at the very end, so don’t rush it. Take your time crumbling on big hunks of salty feta, dusting the top with lemon zest, sprinkling it with lemon juice, and ending with a showering of chopped herbs. Feel free to pop a few lemon wheels or wedges on top to make it extra stunning and showcase the freshness of the dish too.
Made this? Let us know how it went in the comments below.
- 4 serving(s)
- Prep Time:
- 10 mins
- Total Time:
- 45 mins
- 2 1/2 lb.
bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (4 to 6 thighs)
- 1/2 tsp.
ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp.
kosher salt, divided
- 2 tbsp.
extra-virgin olive oil
medium shallot, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp.
- 1 1/2 c.
cloves garlic, finely chopped
heaping tbsp. capers
- 3/4 c.
dry white wine
- 3 c.
low-sodium chicken broth and/or water
- 5 oz.
- 1/2 c.
- 4 oz.
feta, broken into large pieces
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Chopped fresh dill and parsley, for serving
- Step 1Preheat oven to 400°. Pat chicken dry with paper towels; season with pepper and 1 teaspoon salt.
- Step 2In a large, high-sided, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil until shimmering. Arrange chicken skin side down in skillet in a single layer. Cook, undisturbed, until skin is golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Flip and cook until second side is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
- Step 3Reduce heat to medium. Cook shallots and butter, stirring, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add orzo, garlic, and capers; season with remaining 2 teaspoons salt. Cook, stirring often, until orzo is lightly toasted and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add wine and scrape up any browned bits from bottom of pan. Pour in broth and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, until liquid is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.
- Step 4Stir in spinach and cream until spinach is wilted. Return chicken to pan skin side up, along with any accumulated juices.
- Step 5Transfer skillet to oven and bake, uncovered, until chicken is cooked through and orzo is tender, about 15 minutes.
- Step 6Top with feta, lemon zest, lemon juice, dill, and parsley.