Cleaning out my pantry is a process that I really enjoy for two reasons: I really hate wasting food while I use my culinary imagination to create new Mediterranean flavored dishes. However, as always, I have to be honest with you. While most of my dishes are good — I have to admit — some others aren’t knock-your-socks-off fantastic. And then there are those priceless moments when you realize that your creation is surprisingly great and it’s like you have discovered a new land. That excited. It is exactly what happened with this one-pot chicken drumsticks with baby shallots and orzo.
So the story behind this recipe is 6 chicken drumsticks in the fridge waiting patiently to meet my skillet and a “gang” of baby shallots sitting waaay too long in my pantry. Two wonderful ingredients and a very willing home cook ready to make them a delicious dinner for 3 hungry guys (plus the cook). The addition of orzo is an excellent idea because it is cooked along with the chicken and absorbs all the delicious juices. Enhance flavor even more with a lot of fresh lemon juice and herbs and you will be hooked for good. Like the three hungry guys, I was telling you about, plus the cook who was eating right from the skillet. They devoured their dinner, licked their plates clean and asked for more. I just love to start out a new recipe that ends up being the new family’s favorite dish.
Wait for the best part! This is a one-pot meal. Allow me to explain. You grab one large skillet or pan or dutch oven (whatever you have available) and throw in the chicken and a few other healthy ingredients. Cook for about 45 minutes and serve. Ok maybe I oversimplify a little bit the cooking procedure but, believe me, it is a ridiculously simple recipe even for a novice cook.
Bonus! You wash only one pot and the dishes. So important for all those tired, non-stop, hard-working people nowadays or simply those who find cleaning so boring!
Ready? Let’s build that sublime dish together.
The Mediterranean way of eating contains moderate amounts of white meat like poultry (chicken, duck, turkey) and according to the Mediterranean pyramid it is advised to consume 2 servings weekly. Following this instruction couldn’t be more convenient because I cook once and I usually keep leftovers for the next couple of days that I mix and/or match with other fresh ingredients or I simply serve the same dish when I don’t have the time to cook. More delicious and healthy meals for everyone. Can’t beat that!
Chicken breast is the most popular part of a chicken and it is the leanest cut for sure. However, it isn’t my favorite cut for cooking because I rarely use chicken broth (it is always homemade and I am usually out of stock) and no matter the herbs and spices, the taste remains bland. At least, that’s what my taste buds are reporting.
That’s why I chose drumsticks for this recipe. I need a juicy cut to release its flavor all over my skillet. Finally, I cooked them skin on because this is a perfect way to maintain their tenderness and keep them extra moist. Before serving, discard the skin if you like.
Peeling all those baby shallots or pearl onions can be really annoying. I know, I know. No time and energy to do it so. Mind you, there is a quick and easy way: blanch them in hot water for no more than one minute, transfer them in a pot with ice water, cut off the root end with a knife and slip off the skins with your fingers.
To save more time, peel them ahead of time and keep them in a pot covered with water into the fridge for a couple of days. It’s really worth the trouble because these little gems are going to release their delicate sweetness and add another layer of flavor. Perfect.
For this recipe, I keep it simple on purpose. Just thyme and bay for herbs because I want to make the lemon the star of the dish. I really love this lemony taste and it delightfully complements with all the ingredients. So don’t hesitate to add fresh lemon juice for a delicious outcome.
READY! NOW, WHAT?
Dig in! You need so much discipline to resist the smell of this dish and just take a bite. I found it out, the hard way. This recipe’s photo shooting was a disaster. One-click with the camera, two bites with my hands. My 3 hungry guys were waiting impatiently repeating constantly “Are you done, mom?” “Not yet?” “May I take one more onion?” Impossible to be creative under these conditions. Impossible to keep leftovers too.
Serve this dish with a Chardonnay wine or with “Nykteri”(PDO*), an exquisite dry white wine from Santorini. By all means, it would be even better topped with feta cheese crumbles and served with this traditional cabbage salad.
Make this dish for a cozy, special dinner or for any night of the week and surprise the people you love with a savory, healthy dish. Show me your creations and tag me on social media either on Instagram, Facebook or leave your comment and your rating below. I would be thrilled to hear your opinion and see some photos.
*Protected Designation of Origin
ONE-POT CHICKEN AND ORZO
- 6-8 chicken drumsticks, pat dry
- 20-30 baby shallot or pearl onions, peeled*
- 3+1 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic
- 4-5 cups (1liter) hot chicken broth or hot water
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped or 1 tablespoon dry
- 2 lemons, the juice
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ cup orzo
- Salt and pepper
- Season drumsticks on all sides with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large skillet (cast iron if available) or pan over medium-high heat, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and wait to simmer. Sear the chicken on both sides until skin is lightly golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan and transfer to a plate.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat and wait to simmer. Add the shallots and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 5-10 minutes (the time depends on their size).
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the garlic for 1 minute (watch out because it burns fast) and the thyme. Add lemon juice and sauté for 2 more minutes.
- Pour in 2 cups hot chicken broth (or hot water), add the bay leaf and slide the chicken back into the skillet. Cook for 30 minutes. You may add some more broth or water along the way.
- Pour in one more cup hot broth (or hot water) and add the orzo. Reduce heat to low, season to taste and cook for another 10 minutes. Add some more hot broth or hot water if it is too dry.
- Remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes. Serve topped with fresh thyme and feta cheese if desired.
I forgot to get shallots and baby pearl onions when I went shopping the other day. Is there another substitute I could use in its place. How many drumsticks does one have on the Mediterranean diet. Don’t want make my husband feel that he is still hungry. Can’t wait to try this recipe. Looks really good.
Thank you so much for your kind comment. Without shallots and pearl onions, the recipe will be different. Leek is a good substitute and of course any other kind of onion if available. Don’t be afraid to add other vegetables like carrots, mushrooms, zucchini, pepper, tomato whatever you like.
There aren’t really strict rules in the Mediterranean way or eating. However, portion control is important if we want to keep our weight under control. Just to give you an idea, a healthy Mediterranean plate is half a plate full of vegetables (salad or roasted veggies etc) and the rest is 1/4 protein (the chicken) and 1/4 whole grain (the orzo for this recipe).
Hope I helped!!!
Thank you for replying. I decided to get the shallots after all. I will be attempting this recipe tomorrow and I was planning on roasting zucchini and adding some carrots to the mix. And, that’s what I am learning about the Mediterranean diet. Fill your plate with lots of veggies then some meat and starch. Thanks again for sharing and replying. I’ll let you know everything turns out so I can give you a good rating.
This recipe was delicious! Husband loved it and so did I! Glad I got the shallots.
It is true shallots make the difference. So so excited! That’s the basic reason I started this blog! If you feel like rating this recipe, I would appreciate it.
I tried rating it but it won’t let me. I give 5 stars but more if I could. I plan on making this again for us.
Scroll till the end of the page and you are going to find the “stars” under the comment box. Thank you so much Diane 🙂
So glad you like it!!
Moses Brodin says
Super Easy! My boyfriend loved it! Will definitely make again and again! Thank you!
Thank you for trying this recipe. I am so excited you love it. Kisses from cloudy Athens!
Alisha Ross says
Looks delicious ! I was wondering if you could post recipes for school lunches? I’m trying to eat healthier while trying to balance out homework and exercise and I would like some simple, quick and healthy lunch recipes. Thanks
Thank you, Alisha. Most of my recipes are perfect for a lunch box. Usually, dinner’s leftover are the next day’s lunch box. For example, you may use up leftover chicken from this recipe to make a sandwich with whole wheat pita bread, or any bread of your choice (preferably whole grain) or a salad with your favorite vegetables. Easy, right? 🙂
Alisha Ross says
made this tonight, hubby already asking for it again, fabulous and so simple, thank you for the recipe!!!! I am still full!!
Thank you so much. So glad you like it! Happy New Year! xxx Sylia
Rose Martine says
Thank you for this post. I’ve always believed that chicken had to be cooked to 180 using an instant read thermometer to be safe. Always dry. I do more grilling outdoors, but I’ll definitely have to look for one of those pans. Should be good for any type of meat.
Thank you, Rose. These recipes are perfect for tender, fall off the bone meat. I will share more recipes shortly.
Anglena Rossie says
Excellent blog you have got here. It’s difficult to find
quality writing like yours these days. I seriously appreciate people like you!
Thank you so much, Anglena. Love your site too. We know well both the importance of positive feedback.