To get the most out of this dish, marinate the chicken before doing anything else so it has time for the flavours to infuse the meat. Orzo (or risoni, as it’s also known) is found in the pasta section of most supermarkets. For a gluten-free variation, look for rice flour-based orzo, which is available at health food stores.
- 400 g chicken thigh cutlets (see Note)
- 1½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped and smashed to a paste
- juice and finely grated rind of 1 lemon, plus extra wedges to serve
- ¼ cup oregano leaves
- ½ tsp ground fennel
- 2 red baby capsicums, halved
- 100 g (½ cup) orzo (see Note)
- 60 g feta, crumbled
- 2 tbsp walnuts, lightly toasted
- 50 g black olives
- salt and black pepper
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Place the chicken in bowl with 3 teaspoons olive oil, garlic, lemon rind and half each of the lemon juice and fennel. Finely chop half the oregano and add to the chicken. Season to taste and mix until the chicken is evenly coated. Set aside.
Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the orzo and cook according to packet directions, around 11 minutes. Combine the remaining olive oil, lemon juice and fennel. Add to the warm orzo, season to taste and mix until evenly coated. Set aside.
Preheat a barbecue or chargrill pan over high heat. Add the capsicum and chicken. Cook the chicken for 4–5 minutes on each side or until just cooked through. Cook the capsicum until lightly charred and softened.
Add the capsicum, walnuts, feta, olives and remaining oregano to the orzo and toss gently. Divide orzo between plates and top with chicken. Serve with lemon wedges.
• Chicken thigh cutlets are chicken thighs with the skin on and the bone in. You can use skinless and boneless chicken thighs if you prefer, but they wont be as moist and flavoursome.
• Orzo, also known as risoni, is available in the pasta section of supermarkets.
Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Suresh Watson.
Cast iron grill pan and Mulberry knife and fork, all from The Chef and The Cook. Wooden board from Koskela. Dinner plate from MUD Australia.