A midweek meal never got so easy

When you need a tasty midweek meal, then you need to cook this 30-minute chicken and orzo dish.

  • SERVES: 4 
  • PREP TIME: 10 mins
  • COOKING TIME: 20 mins
  • IDEAL FOR: midweek meal, family, meat-free
  • DIFFICULTY: easy

30-minute chicken and orzo

I made this dish for a Sunday lunch (not a midweek meal).

We had an incredibly busy weekend working down at WILDCOMFORT

So, the thought of coming home and cooking a full Sunday roast or something a bit more complicated was definitely not on my ‘To Do’ list.

We also invited our lovely neighbours over.

Which we often do on a Sunday afternoon to enjoy a meal together.

They are a good gauge of whether the recipes I try out are winners or not.

And I can confirm that they loved this, especially the ease of it and mainly for being introduced to orzo.

So, if you’re looking for a tasty 30-minute meal, then you’ve landed on the right recipe.

30-minute chicken and orzo

What is orzo?

Orzo, Italian for “barley” – looks like the grain with its small rice shape.

It’s classified as “pastina” meaning little pasta — a category of tiny shapes commonly used for soups.

Orzo pasta is made with semolina flour (made of durum wheat).

Despite its similarities to rice, it’s not gluten-free.

It’s really good to have in the cupboard and can be used for summer salads to soups.


I’m new to orza.

It was our friend and neighbour, Nick the Chef who introduced me to orzo.

But now, I keep it in the cupboard.

If you can’t find it at the supermarket, it’s easily found on the world wide web.

Of course, sometimes you just don’t have the right ingredients.

So, in that case, you can usually substitute things like rice, orecchiette (pronounced o-rek-kyet-teh), and even couscous.

However, I’d stack your cupboard with it – it’s not like any pasta, it’s perfectly formed and delicious.

How do you cook orzo?

The easiest way to cook it is to boil it in well-salted water until al dente – for around 8-10 minutes.

For more recipes using orzo, visit here.

30-minute chicken and orzo

Course Main Course
Keyword chicken
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people
Cost £


  • 500 g chicken thighs (I used boneless)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • olive oil
  • 5 rainbow carrots (or just carrots)
  • 1 small butternut squash, cut into sizable chunks
  • 400 g orzo
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • finely grated zest and juice of an orange
  • 5 tbsp creme fraiche


  • Pre-heat the oven to 200 C. Place the carrots and cut butternut squash into a baking tray with olive oil and season. Roast for 20 – 30 mins or until the vegeatblea are nice and tender.
    (*you don't have to do roast vegetables so could boil some nice greens such as broccoli, kale etc, and add to the dish at the end)
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat, then add the chicken, skin-side down. Cook until all the skin is golden and crisp, then pour out any excess fat and turn over.
    Add the onion and fennel seeds, and a pinch of salt around the chicken and cook over medium heat for 10 -15 minutes until the onion has caramelised and the chicken is cooked through (you may want to turn the chicken pieces once or twice to ensure it’s cooked through).
  • Cook the orzo in salted boiling water according to the packet instructions. Keep a cup of the cooking water before draining.
  • Place the cooked chicken onto a plate, then stir the orzo into the onions along with the balsamic vinegar, orange zest and juice and crème fraiche. Drizzle in a little of the pasta water to give the sauce a creamy texture.
    Season well and serve topped with the chicken and the roast vegetables.


Recipe inspired by: Delicious Magazine