Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potato Orzo Risotto
Risotto actually refers to the method often used to prepare rice, not the rice dish itself. In this case, orzo, a small, flat pasta, and sweet potato are cooked in this style, slowly with lots of stirring. The slow simmering and frequent stirring help achieve the creamy consistency (usually produced by Carnaroli or Arborio rice) while the pasta maintains its al dente texture.
- 3 Cloves Garlic
- 2 Small Zucchini
- 1 Bunch Basil
- 1 Onion
- 1 Sweet Potato
- 1 Cup Orzo
- 1 Cup Chicken Broth
- 4 Boneless Chicken Thighs
- 1 Lemon
- ¼ Cup Parmesan Cheese
Prepare your ingredients:
Wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and slice the garlic. Cut the zucchini lengthwise into ½-inch-thick sticks. Pick the basil leaves off their stems. Peel and small dice the onion. Peel and small dice the sweet potato.
Start cooking the sweet potato orzo:
In a medium pot, heat some olive oil on high until hot. Add the onion and sweet potato, and cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until the sweet potato starts to soften. Season with salt and pepper. Add the orzo, and cook 1 minute to lightly toast the orzo, stirring.
Simmer the orzo:
Add the chicken broth and 1¼ cups of water. Bring the orzo mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer 12 to 14 minutes or until the orzo and sweet potato are cooked through and the mixture has thickened, stirring frequently. Stir in half the Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste. (If the mixture seems too thick while it simmers, you can add about ¼ cup more water.)
Cook the chicken:
While the orzo simmers, cook the chicken. In a large pan, heat some olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the chicken, skin-side down. Cook 7 to 9 minutes per side, or until browned and cooked through. (If you like, you can cover the pan with foil to help the chicken cook more quickly.) Transfer the chicken to a plate to rest. Meanwhile, thinly chiffonade, or slice the basil by stacking then rolling up the leaves, and cutting the roll crosswise into thin ribbons.
Cook the zucchini:
Drain off any excess grease from the pan used for the chicken, and heat the pan on medium-high. Add the garlic and the zucchini to the pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the sliced basil over the zucchini. Remove the pan from the heat and squeeze some lemon juice over the zucchini.
Plate your dish:
Place some of the orzo and zucchini on plates. Top with some of the chicken. Squeeze some lemon juice over the chicken and zucchini. Garnish with lemon wedges and the remaining Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!