La versione italiana di questo post si trova qua, sullo stupendo foodblog, Matematica e Cucina (http://matematicaecucina.blogspot.com).
It is a piatto unico (meaning, instead of a first course and second course, it is the only course). I have made it many times; Jeanette and I love it very much. I don't make it for guests: the place setting includes a spoon (for the orzo), a fork, a knife (for the chicken), and a separate dish (for the discarded skins and bones). It's a dirty, oily affair, and SO tasty that one could die. In fact, one could resuscitate the dead with this dish. (How appropriate that I made it a couple of days before Halloween!)
FOR THE CHICKEN STOCK
a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
1 stick butter
a few fennel stalks (optional)
a few potatoes (optional)
a few tomatoes
orange (or lemon) rind
a small cinnamon stick (about 4" long)
a few bay leaves
a couple of hard ends of parmigiano reggiano
other "junk" from the freezer
water to cover everything
Of the garden herbs, you can use whatever you want, but you HAVE to include tarragon. The marriage between chicken and tarragon is as harmonious as that between tomatoes and basil.
I once wrote on my blog, "The most delicious recipe in the world is that which you make from the stuff that you would have thrown away." The part of the tomato around the stem — I put it in the freezer. Fennel stalks — in the freezer. The hard parmigiano ends — in the freezer. The core of the radicchio — in the freezer. Then, when I'm ready to make the stock, out comes all of this magnificent "junk."
In a big pot, put the oil, chick, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and butter. Brown the chicken but be careful not to burn the butter.
FOR THE DISH
1 lb orzo
8 chicken thighs (with skin and bones)
1 onion (minced)
4 garlic cloves (halved)
1 chili pepper
paprika (hot, sweet, or smoked)
a drizzle of olive oil
In a clean, dry frying pan, add the orzo and toast it until golden (not brown). Shut the heat and put the orzo aside.
Preheat the oven to 425º. Put all of the above-listed ingredients except the orzo in a Dutch oven. (I use our beloved Creuset.)
28 oz. pealed San Marzano tomatoes (puréed in a mixer)
2 cups homemade chicken stock (see above)
2-4 TB red wine vinegar (for a sweeter flavor, you can use a vinegar of Marsala or Sherry)
7 oz. pepperoni, cut in medallions about 1/4" thick.