Feb 15, 2022

Spinach and Artichoke Chicken and Orzo Bake

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
This simple one pan chicken dinner comes together in under an hour.

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This one pot dinner is made with pieces from a whole chicken for an easy well-balanced meal. Sautéed shallots are tossed with artichoke hearts and sautéed spinach and combined with orzo, a small pasta. The orzo cooks in the pan as the chicken finishes baking and soaks up the flavor of the chicken stock. I garnish the dish with sprigs of fresh dill and crumbled feta for a tangy and creamy finish.

Spinach and Artichoke Chicken and Orzo Bake

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Orzo – Orzo is a small shape of pasta known as a pastina. The orzo soaks up the flavored broth in this recipe, as it is cooked in the pan with the chicken as you would rice. The word “orzo” means barley in Italian, named because it resembles the shape of the grain. 
  • Chicken – I use a whole chicken and break it down into 10 pieces. Breaking down a whole chicken is a great, inexpensive option. I first remove the backbone and wings and discard them or save and use them for stock. The chicken legs and thighs are separated and the breasts are cut in half so they cook faster. 
  • Shallot –  Shallots have a mild and slightly sweet flavor. If needed, try swapping diced yellow onion in this recipe. The general rule of thumb is 3 medium shallots equal 1 medium onion.
  • Spinach – While I use fresh spinach in this recipe and sauté it so it cooks down in the pan, frozen spinach can also be used. Simply defrost and drain as much water as possible so as to not water down the recipe. 
  • Artichoke – I use water-packed artichoke hearts in this recipe. They are already prepared and ready to eat so I simply chop them into smaller pieces 
  • Feta – Feta is a Greek cheese made with sheep’s milk (or goat milk). Finishing the dish with crumbled feta adds a slightly tangy flavor and creamy texture. 
how to break down whole chicken

How to Break Down Whole Chicken 

While there are multiple ways to break down a whole chicken, I prefer this method of removing the backbone first.

Lay the chicken with the breast-side down on a cutting board. Using a sharp chef’s knife or kitchen shears remove the backbone and discard or save for stock. Flip the chicken over and press down.

Next, pull the legs away from the body and carefully slice through the skin between the breast and the drumstick on each side. Bend the legs back until the thigh bone pops out of the socket and you can cut through the joint. Separate the leg and the thigh at the join and cut through.

Then pull the wings away from the chicken and cut through the joints, removing the wings (discard or save for stock). Place the breasts skin-side down and slice the breasts into two halves. Cut each breast in half once more. 

How to Make Spinach and Artichoke Chicken and Orzo Bake

How to Make Spinach and Artichoke Chicken and Orzo Bake - Step 1: Sear the chicken
Step 1: Sear the chicken

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a large 12” cast iron pan or a large, shallow, oven-safe pot over medium heat, add the oil and heat through. Add the chicken pieces, skin-side down and sear until golden brown and crispy, about 6 minutes. Flip and continue to cook for an additional 4 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Spinach and Artichoke Chicken and Orzo Bake - Step 2: Sauté shallots
Step 2: Sauté shallots

Return the pan to medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.

Step 3: Add spinach and artichokes
Step 3: Add spinach and artichokes

Add the artichokes and spinach to the pan, cooking until the spinach has wilted and decreased in size, about 4 minutes.

Step 4: Add orzo and chicken
Step 4: Add orzo and chicken

Stir in the orzo followed by adding the chicken stock and lemon juice. Nestle the seared chicken pieces into the pan.

Step 5: Bake
Step 5: Bake

Move the pan to the oven and bake until the chicken is cooked through and the orzo is tender, about 20 minutes.

Step 6: Garnish
Step 6: Garnish

Garnish with the feta and dill and serve.

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe 

  • If you don’t want to break down a whole chicken, either buy it already cut up or swap with bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. 
  • Swap out the spinach with another green like collard greens or kale if desired. 
Spinach and Artichoke Chicken and Orzo Bake Recipe

Other Recipes to Try 

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Spinach and Artichoke Chicken and Orzo Bake

Spinach and Artichoke Chicken and Orzo Bake

Spinach and Artichoke Chicken and Orzo Bake
Print Pin
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 (3-4 pound) fryer chicken, broken down into 10 pieces
  • Kosher salt as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper as needed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium shallots diced
  • 1 (8.5 ounce) can quartered artichokes, drained and chopped
  • 6 ounces baby spinach
  • 1 pound orzo
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • ½ medium lemon
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill

Instructions:

  • Heat oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a large 12” cast iron pan or a large, shallow, oven-safe pot over medium heat, add the oil and heat through.
  • Add the chicken pieces, skin-side down and sear until golden brown and crispy, about 6 minutes. Flip and continue to cook for an additional 4 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
  • Return the pan to medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the artichokes and spinach to the pan, cooking until the spinach has wilted and decreased in size, about 4 minutes.
  • Stir in the orzo followed by adding the chicken stock and lemon juice. Nestle the seared chicken pieces into the pan.
  • Move the pan to the oven and bake until the chicken is cooked through and the orzo is tender, about 20 minutes.
  • Garnish with the feta and dill and serve.

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