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Easy Orzo with Chicken and Eggplant (Greek Style)

This recipe is based on a Greek dish called Manestra: honest and simple tomato based orzo recipe.

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/5
(
0
reviews)
SERVES
4
Cooks in
35
min
LEVEL
Fair
SERVES
4
Cooks in
35
min
level
Fair

Instructions

Are you already familiar with orzo? Well, you should be! It is the perfect base for quick and easy one-pot dishes. Orzo is a rice-shaped pasta, that can be used in warm preparation but is also perfect for salads. This recipe is based on a Greek dish called Manestra, which refers to the orzo being cooked in a tomato base. 

Manestra is typically quite simple and only uses a bit of feta and fresh oregano as a garnish. The dish was eaten after WW2 and was cheap to make for large families. You can make a simple one but in my opinion, this dish is perfect to experiment with. I like to add ground chicken and vegetables and some more spices to make it a bit less carb-heavy and more suitable for weeknight dinners. Also smart to cook in big batches, because this re-heats perfectly the day after for a real quick lunch or dinner.

Feel free to use any herbs and vegetables you have lying around. Try for example a vegetarian option with zucchini and eggplant and swap out your oregano, cumin, feta for basil and parmesan. All of a sudden you have a more Italian-inspired version without meat and still high on flavor and done in about 30 minutes. 

Step 1 
We will start with all the knife work. Dice your onions and garlic and cut your bell peppers and eggplant into bite-size pieces. Crumble your feta cheese, chop your parsley, put these two on a small plate, and set aside. We will use this to garnish the dish. 

Step 2 
Put your pan on medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Then add your eggplant and fry for 3-4 minutes until they start to brown. Remove from the pan and add 1 tablespoon of oil and your ground chicken. Fry for about 3 minutes and add your onion, garlic, chili, and tomato paste. Let this sauté for 2 more minutes.

Step 3
Now we add in the eggplant, bell peppers, cumin, oregano, and the orzo. Mix well and simmer for approximately 2 minutes. Add your crushed tomatoes and chicken stock and let this simmer for about 12-14 minutes or until the orzo has the right texture and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Make sure you stir occasionally because otherwise, your orzo will stick to the bottom.

Step 4

When the sauce and the orzo have the right consistency (the orzo cooked through and the sauce not too soupy and mostly absorbed) it is time to serve. just before we serve we add the lemon zest and the juice of half a lime to the pan. Serve a healthy scoop onto a plate and garnish with the feta and parsley. Enjoy!

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