sabato 24 novembre 2012

Orzo Rusticano (English version)

La versione italiana di questo post si trova qua, sullo stupendo foodblog, Matematica e Cucina (

One day, a dear friend gave me a recipe called "Chicken & Chorizo Paella." It was supposed to be a Spanish recipe.  I tried to reproduce it.  Under my hands, however, it came out as an Italian recipe that happened to have chorizo in it!  I said to myself, "If I substituted pepperoni for the chorizo, it would be an entirely Italian dish."

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!)



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
garden parsley
garden tarragon
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.  
Then, add all the other ingredients and let it boil for several hours.



1 lb orzo
8 chicken thighs (with skin and bones)
garden thyme
garden parsley
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.)

Bake it, uncovered, for 15 minutes.  Remove it from the oven.  Add:

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.

Cover and bake for 45 minutes.
Remove from the oven.  Add the toasted orzo.  Return it to the oven and bake, uncovered, for exactly 8 minutes. 

1 commento:

  1. Complimenti a entrambi per la collaborazione:-) mi raccomando aspetto nuove ricette !!