Roasted Chicken With Moroccan Spices, Cheesy Orzo and Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots and Walnuts

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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.

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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.

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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.

TW’s Tips

  • 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

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

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.

Cheesy Orzo

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

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.

Green Bean Salad

I’m not the biggest green salad fan (BO-ring) so I’m always on the lookout for interesting slash delicious ways to get my veg on. Don’t get me wrong — I like a great green salad now and then, but it’s just not my go-to, and if I DO go there, I need a lot of more interesting components (that means more than lettuce, tomato and cucumber, people. Yawn.), and dressing made from scratch (obviously). Anyway, this Green Bean Salad by Jamie Deen is pretty awesome — it’s got great acidity from the red wine vinegar, plus almonds for some crunch and some tangy feta…literally could make it a meal, it’s that good. I made this for a side with Couscous Stuffed Chicken Breast with Feta, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives, but it would be a perfect summer cookout recipe, or a great bring-something-to-a-friend’s-house dish since you don’t need it to be warm and it’s even better once everything marinates for a little while.

I used some awesome farmers market beans for this — both green, purple and yellow (though the purple ones lost their cool color in the cooking process…boo).

TW’s Tips

  • I’ve only got one tip: cut the green beans into one-inch pieces once you’ve cooked and cooled them — much easier to eat. And use the best, freshest beans you can find.

Green Bean Salad

Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound slender green beans, ends trimmed
  • 1 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Boil a large pot of salted water. Add the green beans and cook until tender crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Use a spider to remove to a bowl of ice water. Drain well, pat dry and place the beans in a large bowl. Combine with the feta cheese, tomatoes and red onions.

Toast the almonds in a small skillet, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to a plate.

Whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, basil, garlic and some salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the green beans and sprinkle with the toasted almonds. Let marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour before serving.

Lemon Curry Chicken with Mango-Basmati Rice Salad

If you want a nice, simple dinner with super fresh flavors, this one’s got it. From Tyler Florence: Lemon Curry Chicken with Mango-Basmati Rice Salad. The chicken is easy — just marinated with curry and lemon and simply roasted so the skin crisps up and the meat stays nice and juicy.

And this rice — wow. It’s got such great flavors going with the just-crisp-enough green beans, sweet, ripe mango, crunchy cashews and fresh mint, topped with a splash of olive oil, lemon juice and fresh cracked pepper — amazing.

TW’s Tips

  • I had a bunch of chicken thighs on hand so I used just thighs instead of a whole chicken. It worked great!
  • The fresh mint here makes a huge difference. Don’t skip it.
  • I cut back on the red onion — I used about half of what was called for, and it was plenty.
  • I used jasmine rice — and it was delish.
  • And I skipped the “spread the rice out to let it cool” part. I just mixed everything together. Bam.
Simple. Easy. What’s not to like?

Lemon Curry Chicken with Mango-Basmati Rice Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 (3½ to 4 lb.) chicken, cut into 10 pieces
  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 2 Tbs. curry powder
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and smashed with the flat side of a large knife
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ lb. tender green beans, trimmed
  • ½ small red onion
  • ¼ cup cashews
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 fresh mango, peeled, pitted and chopped
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F. Stir together the yogurt, curry powder, lemon zest and juice, sesame oil, and salt and pepper is a big bowl. Add the chicken and toss gently to coat with the yogurt marinade. Put the chicken on a baking sheet and roast, using the remaining marinade to baste twice as it cooks, until chicken is tender and cooked through, about 45 minutes total.

While the chicken cooks, make the rice salad.

Put the rice in a saucepan with the ginger, 2 cups of water, and 1 ½ tsp. salt and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Give the rice a stir, turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook for 12 minutes without lifting the lid. Spread the cooked rice out on a baking sheet and let it cool to room temperature. Discard the ginger.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the beans. Fill a large bowl with ice water and add enough salt to make it taste lightly salted. Add the beans to the boiling water and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes. Drain, then refresh in the ice water bath to keep the bright green color, and drain well again. Cut the beans in half crosswise on the diagonal.

Put the onion half, cashews and mint on a cutting board and coarsely chop them all up. Combine the rice and green beans in a big bowl and add the chopped onion mixture. Add the chopped mango, olive oil and lemon juice and toss gently. Taste for seasoning.

Mound the rice salad on a platter. Arrange the chicken on top.