Chicken and Orzo with Lemon and Olives


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a silver serving spoon in a pan of chicken and orzo

This past weekend was one of those rainy weekends perfect for curling up on the couch with a glass of wine and a dinner that basically makes itself. The rain in Thailand has been cause for great concern. People have lost their homes, and the water keeps coming. The government is scrambling to keep the flood waters out of Bangkok, but at the end of the day, no one can stop the rain. And so on Sunday night, we did the only thing we could do. We stayed inside and watched the storm. Thunder rolled over the city, from one side to the next. Lightning flashed, literally horizontally, across the sky outside our apartment. Horizontally. It was a spectacular show. 

fresh oregano and lemon slices on a white countertop

As I watch the seasons change from afar, I am doing my best to seek out the sensation that fall brings with it. Trying to slow down a bit, to make our home a bit more cozy and keep it full of delicious smells from the oven, to spend a bit more time together just talking and catching our breath. I’m on the hunt for a pumpkin-scented candle to go with the local kobucha squash I found to bring a little harvest décor to our apartment.  Halloween with an Asian twist.

I had been eyeing this charming, homey recipe for weeks when I got the perfect inspiration for it in the mail. The recipe calls for orzo, but if you can get your hand on this Trader Joe’s fall mix, I can assure you that you will be delighted with the result. 

an opened bag of orzo on a wooden tabletop

As this dish cooks, the orzo turns smooth and creamy. The entire dish requires just one pan and is a thing of beauty when it reaches the table. This is worthy of serving to guests, but with a nice glass of wine and a brilliant display of lighting outside, it did our little kitchen proud on a plain old, Sunday night. 

serving chicken and orzo into white bowls

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Chicken and Orzo with Lemon and Olives Recipe

As this Chicken and Orzo with Lemon and Olives cooks, the orzo turns smooth and creamy. The entire dish requires just one pan and is a thing of beauty when it reaches the table.
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Servings: 4


  • Dutch Oven or Oven-Safe Skillet


  • 4 Whole Chicken Legs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups orzo
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 large clove Garlic, minced
  • 1 small Lemon, cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 teaspoon Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 3/4 cup pitted Kalamata Olives
  • 1 large Bay Leaf
  • 3 tablespoons Chopped Fresh Oregano, divided (substitute 1 tablespoon of dried oregano)


  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Season the chicken legs well on all sides with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
  • In a Dutch oven or large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown the legs well on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan.
  • Add the orzo, chicken stock, garlic, lemon wedges and juice, olives, bay leaf and 1 tablespoon of the oregano.
  • Stir to combine all the ingredients, then return the chicken to the pan.
  • Cover and transfer to the oven.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the chicken is done (the meat will be firm and its juices will run clear).
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary, sprinkle with the remaining oregano and serve.


Recipe shared by The Wednesday Chef.


Calories: 613kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 123mg | Sodium: 1162mg | Potassium: 518mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 293IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 112mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $10.00
Calories: 613
Keyword: chicken dinner, Chicken Recipe, easy dinner, one pan meal
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

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  1. This looks delicious, and I’m excited to try it, 🙂 but in the picture the starch looks like pearl-sized couscous, not orzo (which is rice-shaped). Although they’re both pasta, I wonder if this would affect cooking times?

    1. Hi Kristin! Yes – you’re exactly right. As I noted in the post, I actually used a Trader Joe’s fall mix which has orzo, pearl couscous and a few other types of pasta. For some reason the pearl couscous rose to the top, but the orzo is in there somewhere. Orzo, pearl couscous, or any other small shape pasta should work just fine.

  2. Glad my impulse buy came in handy! I’ll have to go back to T. J.’s and get some for myself as it looks really good.

  3. I love anything that cooks itself but this one looks nice and easy on the prep too. I hope you’re staying dry!

  4. Saving this one now…sounds perfect for a dinner party! thanks a bunch…Hope all the rain goes away soon!
    xoxo from Trinidad