One Pot Baked Greek Chicken Orzo (Giouvetsi/Youvetsi)
This one pot or one pan Greek Chicken Orzo stew is cooked in a tasty tomato-based sauce. It’s comforting and simple to make full of fragrant flavours, and it’s done and on the table in just 45 minutes. It’s a cross between a risotto, a pasta dish and a tomato-y, spiced casserole with the addition of chicken. It’s the kind of classic comfort food I love and grew up eating.
What is Giouvetsi/Youvetsi?
It’s a delicious Greek dish often made with chicken, lamb or beef and pasta, either with kritharaki or hilopites, and tomato sauce. Kritharaki or orzo also often called risoni, is basically pasta shaped like large grains of rice. It’s really good at soaking up liquid, just like rice does when you make risotto. So it’s perfect for making a one pot creamy pasta dish. It’s also made with the addition of onions or shallots, garlic, stock, and red wine. I like to amp up the dish by adding some veggies or a simple mirepoix blend of onions, garlic, celery and carrots. It adds extra flavour to the base of this delicious dish. That is optional though so feel free to leave the carrots and celery out if you chose.
How to make Giouvetsi/Youvetsi with chicken
There are a few steps to making this delicious dish but it’s all done in one pan which makes things a lot easier. All you need to do is:
- brown the chicken and set aside
- soften the onion and garlic and carrots and celery if adding
- Stir in the tomato paste and orzo
- deglaze the pan with wine or broth
- Stir in the tomato passata, stock/broth and seasonings
- place chicken back into the pan
- place into the oven uncovered and bake for 25-30 min until orzo and chicken is cooked through.
- serve hot out the oven with a decent amount of freshly grated cheese
- use a good quality orzo pasta
- make sure to brown your chicken well which will add extra flavour to the overall dish
- keep an eye on your dish while it’s cooking in the oven, (I usually check mine once halfway through coking) giving it a brisk stir a couple of times so that the orzo doesn’t stick too much.
- the sauce will thicken as it cools as pasta absorbs most of the sauce - stir in a little more broth when reheating
This is an everyday type of meal in Greek cuisine and one I never tire of. There are so many variations of this dish and they are all fabulous. I hope you try this one and enjoy it! If you happen to love this orzo dish you’ll also love these:
- 6-8 pieces (2-2½ lbs) of chicken thighs, skin on bones in
- ½ tsp Paprika
- ½ tsp each of salt and pepper
- ½ teaspoon of Oregano
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small Carrot peeled and finely chopped
- 1 rib of Celery finely chopped
- 1 onion peeled and Finley chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ cup red wine (optional - substitute with broth)
- 1 ½ cup orzo pasta
- 1 ½ cup passata (strained tomatoes)
- 2 cups of broth veggie or chicken (low or no salt), plus more if needed
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground clove or all spice
- Grated cheese, Kefalotyri, Parmesan, Romano for serving
- Chopped fresh parsley for serving
- Season both sides of chicken with salt, pepper paprika and oregano.
- Heat oil over Medium/high heat in a large shallow skillet. Add chicken to pan and cook until golden brown on both sides but not all the way cooked through fully, 5-6 min each side. Remove from pan onto a plate and set aside
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic to pan and cook stirring often 7-10 min until veggies are softened.
- Stir in the orzo and the tomato paste to combine and cook 1 min until bottom of the pan starts to feel about dry.
- Deglaze the pan with the wine scraping the bottom of the pan
- Stir in the passata, broth, bay leaf and the cinnamon and clove. Place the chicken back in the pan nestling it in over the orzo and remove from heat and place into the oven uncovered and bake for 25-30 min until orzo and chicken is cooked through. Check pan halfway through - giving the orzo a bit of a stir to make sure it’s not sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add a touch of broth if needed.
- Once done remove and serve hot out of the oven sprinkled with grated cheese and chopped fresh herbs
If you would like use chicken breast or any other cut of chicken in this recipe you can just ensure to adjust the cooking time while you are BROWNING the meat at the start. Larger cuts of meat will require longer cooking times while browning. The time in the oven should stay the same (25-30min). Longer cooking times while in the oven will overcook and possibly burn the orzo.