Welcome to another episode of “How can so few ingredients make such a delicious meal?!” Skillet meals, my friends. They’re a miracle. And this Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo is the perfect example.
For this skillet meal I combined chicken thighs seasoned with lemon pepper, orzo cooked in chicken broth, and a healthy dose of parsley and feta. It’s so simple, yet so good. Add a quick little side salad with fresh greens and you’ve got a five star dinner (and very few dishes to clean). Victory!
Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo
- 4 chicken thighs* ($3.28)
- 5 tsp lemon pepper seasoning, divided ($0.25)
- 1 Tbsp canola oil ($0.04)
- 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
- 2.5 cups chicken broth ($0.30)
- 1/4 bunch parsley ($0.19)
- 1.5 cups orzo ($0.89)
- 2 oz feta, crumbled ($1.12)
- Blot the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel, then season both sides liberally with lemon pepper seasoning (about 1 tsp per chicken thigh).
- Heat a large, deep skillet over medium flame. Add 1 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil. When the oil is hot (it should be shimmering), add the chicken thighs, skin side down. Allow the thighs to cook until browned, then flip and brown on the second side (about five minutes on each side for bone-in thighs with skin). Remove the cooked thighs to a clean plate.
- While the thighs are browning, mince two cloves of garlic and roughly chop 1/4 bunch of parsley.
- After removing the chicken from the skillet, pour off the excess fat and turn the heat down to low. Add the garlic and sauté for about one minute. Add the chicken broth and stir to dissolve the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.
- Add about half of the chopped parsley, one additional teaspoon of lemon pepper seasoning, and the orzo to the skillet. Stir to combine. Return the chicken thighs to the skillet, skin side up.
- Cover the skillet and turn the heat up to high. Allow the broth to come to a boil, then turn the heat down to low. Let the skillet simmer on low for 10-12 minutes, or until the orzo is tender. (If the broth stops simmering, increase the heat slightly to keep it simmering.)
- After 12 minutes, the orzo should be tender and most of the broth absorbed. If there is still too much liquid, allow it to simmer without the lid for a few minutes. It's okay if the orzo is slightly saucy. Sprinkle the remaining parsley over top along with the crumbled feta.
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Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo
Step by Step Photos
Start by blotting four chicken thighs dry with paper towel. Drying them helps the seasoning stick and helps them brown better in the skillet. I used bone-in thighs with skin, but you could use boneless, skinless if desired. Just keep in mind that boneless and skinless thighs are usually a bit more expensive and will brown faster.
Season both sides of each thigh liberally with lemon pepper seasoning (about 1 tsp per thigh). This is the brand that I used, but lemon pepper seasoning is common and made by many different brands.
Heat a large deep skillet over a medium flame. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp of canola or vegetable oil. Add the seasoned chicken thighs, skin side down, to the skillet and let them cook undisturbed until browned (about five minutes for bone-in skin-on thighs). Flip the chicken thighs and cook until browned on the second side. Once cooked, remove the thighs from the skillet and pour off the excess fat (skin-on thighs will release a lot more fat than skinless).
While the chicken is browning, roughly chop about 1/4 bunch of parsley and mince two cloves of garlic.
Turn the heat down to low, add the minced garlic, and sauté in the residual fat for about a minute.
Add 2.5 cups of chicken broth to the skillet and stir to dissolve the crispy browned bits from the bottom of the pan (these flavorful browned bits are called “fond”). The broth used to be yellow, but it turned a nice brown from all of the delicious fond.
Add about half of the chopped parsley and one additional teaspoon of lemon pepper to the broth in the skillet.
Add one and a half cups of orzo. Stir to combine.
Finally, return the chicken to the skillet, skin side up.
Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to high, and let the broth come to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low. Let the skillet simmer on low for 10-12 minutes. Make sure it’s simmering the whole time. If it stops when you turn the heat down to low, increase the heat slightly until it just starts to simmer.
After 10-12 minutes the orzo should be tender and most of the broth absorbed. If it’s still really liquidy after that amount of time, simply let it simmer for a few minutes without the lid to let some of it evaporate. it’s okay if the orzo is a little bit saucy.
Fluff the orzo around the chicken a bit with a fork, then top with the remaining parsley and the crumbled feta. And that’s all it takes to make this simple Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo.
I could seriously eat this orzo all day long. ALL. DAY. LONG.
Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo. Yesssss pleeeaassseeee.