Friday, April 22, 2011

Spice Rack Challenge: Chicken, Lemon and Dill with Orzo

I have had a jar of dill weed lurking in my spice cabinet for years, and while ago I took note of this recipe because I am always on the prowl for quick cooking options for chicken breasts.   Have you seen the TV show "Everyday Food" on PBS?   Like the magazine, it offers quick and interesting meal options.   So I gave this recipe a whirl but I used chicken breasts instead of the more spendy chicken tenderloins and I substituted  dried dill weed for fresh.   It was great and looked beautifully flecked with green dill, but it didn't taste like dill AT ALL.  I took out my ancient jar of dill and tasted it - it tasted like sawdust!  I guess the shelf life of dried dill isn't as long as I hoped. Using dried dill that still tastes like dill would be a plus for next time!

This recipe is a great alternative to a typical chicken rice casserole - and the options of swapping different kinds of cheeses, herbs and meats are endless.  How about subbing shrimp in for the chicken?  Garlic instead of dill? Swiss cheese instead of the feta crumbles and parmesan?  White wine for the lemon juice?  I can't wait to try some other alternatives.
Chicken, Lemon and Dill with Orzo
modified from PBS Everyday Food
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 pound chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound orzo
2 cups crumbled feta (4 ounces)
4 T. dried dill weed
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a saucepan, bring broth, 3/4 cup water, butter, salt, and pepper to a boil.  In a 3-quart baking dish, combine chicken, orzo, feta, dill, lemon zest and juice. Pour broth mixture over orzo and stir once to incorporate. Bake until orzo is tender and cooking liquid is creamy, 40 minutes. Sprinkle Parmesan on top and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

1 comment:

Tricia said...

Drat, I was going to make this *right now*, with my live dill :-), except I only have not quite 3 oz of orzo. Another day!