Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Herbed Chicken and Creamy Orzo

WOW! WOW! WOW! What an easy, delicious, and satisfying dinner this was! I've been busy helping Computer Man get his new business up and running so making an intricate dinner just wasn't in the cards. I knew I had to get something hot on our plates, and quickly too! Well, this dish certainly took center stage. I hadn't even defrosted the chicken and this dinner still came together in about 30-40 minutes. You won't be disappointed by the subtle, yet distinct, flavors this dish has to offer. The chicken remains moist and succulent while the orzo and vegetables act as the perfect accompaniment. All in all, the flavors blend together perfectly and you feel like you're getting a very healthy and appetizing meal at the same time. I wish we would've had a nice cucumber and lettuce salad to go with this to round out the vegetable servings, but, alas, I just didn't follow through! I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

Herbed Chicken and Creamy Orzo
Source: Annie's Eats

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half like you'd cut a bagel so you have a top half and bottom half [basically, the chicken is getting butterflied but then cut in half totally]
8 ounces orzo pasta
salt and pepper
2 tsp. Herbes de Provence (or do a Google search to find a substitute; garlic salt with parsely would be just fine, too)
3 T olive oil
1 T butter
1 whole shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes UNDRAINED
10 oz. bag of frozen broccoli florets
1/2 c heavy whipping cream
1/2 c freshly grated parmesan cheese (don't use that junk that you shake onto pizza; get the real stuff)

Boil the orzo according to package directions; make sure you salt the water. Defrost (if you haven't already) the chicken in the microwave while the orzo cooks. Once the orzo is done, drain it and return it to the hot pan; put 1 T of the olive oil on the pasta, mix together, put the lid on and leave it set--you'll come back for it in a bit.

In a large 12- or 14-inch skillet, heat the remaining 2 T of olive oil over medium or medium-high heat. Season the face up side of the chicken with salt and pepper and some of the Herbes de Provence. Transfer the chicken--seasoned-side down--to the hot oil and then season the other side. Saute each side for about 3 minutes. Then, add in the minced shallot and the 1 T of butter; saute the shallot for about 2 minutes. Add in the minced garlic and saute for another minute. Pour in the diced tomatoes and their juice and the broccoli florets. Turn the heat up to high so as to bring the tomato juices to a boil. Scrape the pan so that you get all the browned bits of shallot and garlic that may have stuck to the bottom. Cover and let cook on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Stir in the cooked orzo, the cream, and the parmesan cheese. Mix well so the cheese can melt. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately with a crisp green salad and your favorite white wine!

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