You only need eight ingredients to pull this dinner together. Actually, just five if you don't count the olive oil, salt, and pepper, items I'm certain you probably already have on hand. You also only need one pot, a standard baking sheet, and about 35 minutes in order to get this platter of golden chicken and petite pasta on the table.
Somewhere along the way I learned that if you preheat a sheet pan in the oven while it's warming up, and place your meat upside down on the scalding bakeware, the protein will sear just as nicely as if you were to heat some oil in a skillet and stand stoveside watching the browning process. I like this method a little better when it comes to weeknight dinners. The hot range does the work for me, leaving plenty of time to edit concrete poetry homework, while simultaneously practicing lattice multiplication.
But if homework isn’t your dinner-hour time-sucker, and you’d rather spend the minutes flipping through the pages of a magazine while drinking an after work cocktail, that’s totally okay, too. The point here is that this meal practically makes itself, and I think everyone can benefit from keeping one of those in their back pocket.
Lemon Roasted Chicken Thighs with Dilled Orzo
- 8 chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)
- ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- Juice and zest of 1 large lemon
- 1 Tbsp. grainy mustard
- 1 ½ cup orzo
- 3 Tbsp. fresh chopped dill
- Salt and pepper
- Garnish: Lemon sliced and fresh dill (optional)
1. Brush 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over a rimmed baking sheet and place it in the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, heating the pan as the oven warms.
2. In a medium bowl combine the chicken thighs, ¼ cup olive oil, juice and zest of lemon, mustard, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and a few grind of fresh ground pepper. Toss to combine, evenly coating the chicken with the marinade.
3. When the oven is ready, carefully remove the baking sheet and place the chicken skin side down on the pan. Bake for 25 minutes, flip the chicken over so it’s skin-side up, and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
4. While the chicken cooks, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the orzo until it’s al dente, about 6 – 8 minutes. Drain the pasta, return it to the pot and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and dill. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper.
5. Place the orzo on a serving platter or in a bowl and cover with the hot chicken. Pour the pan drippings over the plate, if desired, and garnish with lemon slices and fresh dill.