Lemon & Oregano Chicken with Lemon & Spinach Orzo

Lemon & Oregano Chicken with Lemon & Spinach Orzo
Recipe by Dragon
Photos by Rob Brady and  Angelina Noccetti

If you love lemon as much as I do, this is the recipe for you! Lemon is celebrated in every component of this dish and it is complimented by all the other ingredients. What I like most about this dish is that it is both elegant and comforting....something I strive for in all my dishes. Enjoy!

Serves: 4

For the Chicken
   zest of 1 lemon
   1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
   1 tablespoon dried oregano
   3/4 cup olive oil
   1/4 teaspoon salt
   2 tablespoons fresh oregano, leaves
   3 cloves of garlic, minced
   4 large chicken thighs
   Salt and Pepper to taste

  Lemon & Spinach Orzo
     2 1/2 cups chicken stock or water
     2 tablespoons olive oil
     1 teaspoon salt
     zest of 1/2 lemon
     1 cup orzo
     juice of 1/2 lemon
     1 cup fresh spinach, torn

   Roasted Lemon Slices (see recipe below)
   Fresh oregano leaves

1. Prepare the chicken: Preheat your oven to 375F.

2. In a bowl, combine lemon zest & juice, dried oregano, olive oil and salt and whisk to emulsify. Reserve half of the marinade in another bowl to sauce the chicken at the end. To the remaining marinade add oregano leaves and garlic.

3. Pour the marinade over the chicken and rub it all over the chicken. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken (skin side up) on a baking sheet for 30-40 minutes or until cooked through and golden.

4. Prepare the orzo about 10 minutes before the chicken is done. In a medium pan, add stock, olive oil, salt and lemon zest and bring to a boil.

5. Reduce to a simmer and add the orzo. Stir occasionally, until the orzo is tender about 10-12 minutes. Don't let it get mushy.

6. Add the lemon juice and spinach and cook for another minute to wilt the spinach. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. You will need to serve this immediately. To serve, ladle some orzo on a plate and top it with a roasted chicken thigh. Spoon some of the reserved lemon sauce over the chicken and top the chicken with a roasted lemon slice and oregano leaves.

Roasted Lemon Slices

   1 lemon, thinly sliced and seeded
   olive oil
   pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 325F.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange lemon slices in a single layer on it. Brush the lemon slices lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt.

3. Roast the lemons until slightly dry and beginning to brown around the edges, 15-20 minutes. Let the lemons cool completely.

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