Pan Seared Chicken Breasts with Orzo

This pan-seared chicken breast with orzo will delight your weeknight senses! It's French-inspired enough that I've served it up with a red wine reduction sauce, but easy enough that you can put dinner on the table in as little as 35 minutes. Did I mention that it tastes fantastic?

While I love a lot of different proteins with orzo, and orzo on its own as a vegetarian option, I don't think anything pairs better with the pasta than chicken. Together and with just a bit of butter, they create a mouthfeel like no other. Yum!

I served my chicken breasts up with some sage flowers growing freshly in the garden and a quick side salad of butter lettuce, escarole, red onions, and parmesan cheese lightly dressed with olive oil. Serve it how you like, it doesn't matter! It'll be fantastic any way you like it.

Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts with Orzo

Time: 35 Minutes
Serves 4

8 oz orzo
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tbsp Parmesan-Reggiano, grated
5 tbsp butter, divided
1.5 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp parsley leaves, chopped
1.5 lbs chicken breast halves
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add orzo with 1 tsp salt and boil until the orzo is tender and has absorbed most of the liquid. Stir in Parmesan-Reggiano, 2 tsbp butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, and parsley. Adjust seasonings to taste and remove from heat. Keep warm.

On a large cutting board, pound the chicken breasts with a mallet to an even 3/4-inch thickness. Debone chicken breast halves, leaving the skin intact, and separating tenderloins from the breast. Season with salt and pepper. Add flour to a large plate and lightly coat each cutlet by dredging in flour.

In a small bowl, add wine, chicken broth, and dijon mustard. Stir to combine and set aside. 

Heat 2 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts and tenderloins skin-side up, and sear for 3 minutes on each side. Transfer chicken to a plate and keep warm. Add red wine mixture to the pan and reduce by half. Then tilt the skillet to whisk in 1 tbsp butter. Remove from heat.

Serve chicken on plates over orzo and drizzle with the red-wine reduction sauce and a side salad.



Lemon Pepper Chicken with Quinoa Orzo


I came across quinoa orzo at our local natural grocery store last week and had to try it! I was a little skeptical that it would come out as perfect as usual, but it really did, while adding additional protein and fiber to our usual pasta recipe. So below is a recipe for quinoa orzo with lemon chicken that is sure to please! I pretty much licked the plate clean when I was done, and I imagine that you will too.


Lemon Pepper Chicken with Quinoa Orzo

Time: 40 Minutes
Serves 4

2 tbsp canola oil, divided
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 tbsp lemon pepper, divided
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2.5 cups chicken broth
12 oz quinoa orzo (regular orzo is fine too!)
1 small bunch parsley, chopped
1/2 cup feta, crumbled, to garnish

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large dutch oven or heavy pan over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, pat chicken dry with a paper towel and season with lemon pepper on both sides, about 1.5 tbsp. Add chicken to pan and brown on each side, about 3-4 minutes per side. Set chicken aside.

Heat the same pan over medium heat with remaining oil and scrape up any browned bits. Add garlic and sauté until soft, about 1 minute. Add chicken broth, orzo, remaining lemon pepper, 1/2 of the parsley to the pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until the orzo is tender and the broth is absorbed. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Serve on plates garnished with remaining parsley and feta.