Crispy Chicken Thighs with Herb Orzo & Stewed Peppers

A dinner that blends simplicity with the freshness of spring: crispy chicken thighs with herb orzo & stewed peppers. Chicken thighs slowly seared until golden and crisp, then braised in a mixture of caramelized peppers, vinegar, and honey, all enjoyed on top of lemony, herby orzo. It’s such a delicious meal to brighten up our weeks!

Crispy Chicken Thighs with Herb Orzo & Stewed Peppers

crispy chicken thighs in skillet

The start of spring is usually such an exciting time, and while things definitely are/feel different right now, I’m making an effort to bring springtime into our kitchens in the form of simple, satisfying, fresh recipes.

I made these crispy chicken thighs the other week, and have been beyond excited to share them ever since. There’s three components – the crispy chicken thighs (which can easily be substituted for skin-on chicken breasts), the bright + lemony herb orzo, and the sweet + tangy stewed red peppers. Each component is just a few simple ingredients + steps…and the result of everything being combined together? Incredibly delicious.

Crispy Chicken Thighs with Herb Orzo & Stewed Peppers

The inspiration for this recipe was the package of orzo sitting in my pantry that I just never seemed to find a use for. I don’t make orzo enough, but when I do, I make a goal to cook it more often. I find the texture so unique…a blend between rice and pasta. I really love it, and the way it cooked up with lemon, herbs, and a little butter was perfect.

The buttery orzo gets cut but the tanginess of the vinegar & honey stewed peppers. Such a great combo. And when it comes to the chicken, I’m simply cooking the thighs in a skillet skin-side down on medium to medium-low heat until the skin is crisp and finishing them by simmering with the peppers. This method would work just as well with chicken breasts.

To be honest, you can sub any protein you have on hand here to use up what you’ve got. Simply saute some shrimp or even cook off a strip steak and slice it thin over top the herb orzo. Lots of versatility.

These crispy chicken thighs work perfectly as a complete meal, or you can add a table salad for a serving of fresh greens on the side.

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Crispy Chicken Thighs with Herb Orzo & Stewed Peppers

Crispy Chicken Thighs with Herb Orzo & Stewed Peppers

crispy chicken thighs served over lemony herb orzo and sweet + tangy stewed peppers 

servings: 4

  • Author: Kayla Howey

Ingredients

Scale
  • 6 skin-on chicken thighs (or 4 chicken breasts) 
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 3 large red bell peppers, thinly sliced 
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup water 
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 ½ cups orzo
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4 lemon slices
  • ½ cup torn basil leaves
  • ¼ cup dill leaves
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

Instructions

  1. Let the chicken thighs sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes. Heat a 12” cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Season the chicken well with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. When the oil is hot, place the chicken skin-side down into the skillet. Cook for about 6 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low and continue to cook the chicken until the skin is golden and crisp. 
  2. Flip the chicken over and cook for just about 2 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to a plate, skin-side up. Add the shallots to the skillet and cook for a minute or two before adding the red peppers. Stir well and allow the red peppers to become tender and caramelized. 
  3. Add the white wine vinegar, water, and honey to the skillet. Bring to a simmer. Place the chicken back into the skillet, skin-side up. Simmer the mixture over medium-low until the chicken is fully cooked through. 
  4. Meanwhile, cook the orzo in a large pot of salted, boiling water. Drain the orzo. Return the pot to medium heat and add the butter. Once the butter is melted, add the lemon slices. Cook until caramelized. Stir in the orzo and heat through. Fold in the fresh herbs. Season with salt to taste. 
  5. Pour the orzo into a large serving bowl. Arrange the chicken and peppers on top. Garnish with any leftover herbs and a good seasoning of freshly cracked black pepper.

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Crispy Chicken Thighs with Herb Orzo & Stewed Peppers

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