If you’re craving a home-cooked meal, this one will hit the spot. It’s homey and comforting, but with an interesting twist — Moroccan spices on the chicken, with a little sweetness and a little spice, classic green beans but with shallots and walnuts to dress it up, and the orzo is pasta transformed into pure homey, cheesy goodness.
The chicken and green beans are recipes courtesy of Tyler Florence, and the orzo is Rachael Ray. This delicious orzo is a recipe I’ve been coming back to again and again. And if you know how I cook, that’s unusual. I love trying new recipes, so it’s not often that I’ll choose to revisit something I’ve tried. But this orzo is just too good. It’s easy, quick and the end result is creamy and delicious — with great garlic and onion flavor and the tanginess of fresh Parmigiano. I admit this is best fresh off the stove, but it doesn’t stop me from eating the leftovers, either. It’s the perfect go-to side for whatever meal you’re cooking.
The green beans are pretty amazing too. They’re fresh and crisp, with some acidity from the lemon juice, great savory flavor from the mild shallots and crunchy nuttiness from the walnuts. Plus the finish of the fresh parsley…this is one of those vegetable dishes I could eat for a main course. It’s that good.
And don’t forget the chicken. I love a great roasted chicken — it makes your house smell delicious, it’s warm and comforting, and the leftovers are fantastic. This one uses some great spices and you will love it.
- Make sure you have a coffee or spice grinder for the chicken spices — otherwise, use already ground spices. It won’t be as potent and flavorful, but grinding spices otherwise is impossible.
- Eat the chicken skin. Trust me.
- Don’t overcook the beans. Test them with a sharp knife or fork and keep them nice and crisp.
Roasted Chicken With Moroccan Spices
- 1 whole chicken, about 3-4 pounds
- 1 cinnamon stick, chopped in pieces
- 8 whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed
- 1 teaspoon coriander seed
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 lemon, halved
- 1/4 bunch fresh cilantro
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Rinse chicken with cool water, inside and out – then pat dry with paper towels.
Combine the cinnamon stick, cloves, cayenne, cumin, fennel, coriander and paprika in a dry skillet over low heat and toast for a minute – just to release the fragrant oils – shake pan so spices don’t scorch. In a clean coffee grinder, grind the toasted spices together with the sea salt and brown sugar.
Massage the chicken skin with the spice rub, making sure you don’t miss any spots.
Season the inside of the chicken with salt and pepper. Stuff the lemon halves, cilantro and garlic into the cavity of the chicken. Place the chicken into a roasting pan, fitted with a rack, and fold the wing tips under the chicken and tie the legs together with kitchen string. Drizzle oil all over chicken. If you have the time, let the chicken sit for 30 minutes to really let the flavors meld into the chicken.
Roast the chicken for one hour, then check with an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh – if it reads 160 degrees F, then it’s done! Take the chicken out of the oven and let it sit for 10 minutes before carving – so the juices can settle back into the meat. Squeeze the lemon halves that have cooked inside the chicken over the meat for added wow.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
- 1/2 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 cans (14 ounces) chicken or vegetable broth or stock
- 2 cups orzo pasta (enriched rice may be substituted)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano or Romano
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat a 8 inch pot with a tight fitting cover over moderate heat. Add oil, onion and garlic and saute for 2 or 3 minutes. Add broth to the pan and bring to a boil. Stir in orzo and return broth to a boil. Cover pot and reduce heat to simmer. Cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until liquid is absorbed and pasta tender. Remove lid and stir in cheese. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. You favorite fresh herbs may also be stirred into the orzo or rice to strengthen the flavor even more.
Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots and Walnuts
- 1 pound green beans — trimmed
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large shallots — sliced
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1 dash sea salt
- 1 dash freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley — chopped
Bring a pot of water to boil, blanch the green beans for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Put a skillet over medium heat and add oil. Saute shallots for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until they begin to soften and get some color. Add the walnuts and cook for 3 more minutes, tossing frequently.
Add the green beans, season with salt and pepper. Toss together and add lemon juice and parsley.