Baked Chicken with Orzo

For the Chicken:
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon each kosher salt and black pepper
1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Juice of a large lemon
Greek extra virgin olive oil

For the Orzo:
Greek extra-virgin olive oil
2 green bell peppers, cored and sliced into rounds
2 cups chopped yellow onion
1 red bell pepper, cored and chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups canned, peeled plum tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
Sea salt and black pepper
2 cups dry uncooked orzo pasta

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine spices (oregano, paprika, coriander, salt and pepper.) Pat chicken dry, and season well with the spices (use clean hands to coat chicken with spices). Place seasoned chicken in a large bowl and add lemon juice. Set aside for 20 minutes or so while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

When ready, in a 5-quart Dutch oven or a large oven-safe pot, heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil over medium-high until shimmering but not smoking.

Add chicken and brown the chicken on both sides (about 8 to 10 minutes). Remove chicken pieces to a plate.

In the same pot, add green bell pepper slices and sear on either side. Remove and place with the chicken.

If needed, add another tablespoon extra virgin olive oil. Add chopped onions and red peppers, cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until soft. Add garlic, and cook another 30 seconds, then, add plum tomatoes, broth, spices, and a dash of kosher salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then add the orzo pasta.

Nestle the chicken pieces, and top with the green bell pepper slices.

Transfer the pot to heated oven. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes or so. Remove from oven, cover and let sit 5 minutes undisturbed (orzo will absorb any juices.)

Before serving, drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil, and garnish with fresh parsley and feta, if you like.


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