With just enough lemon flavor to be bright and delicious, this Lemon Chicken with Spinach and Orzo is fantastic! It tastes like a gourmet meal, but is made in the slow cooker. The trick is boiling the orzo in some of the broth from the chicken.
I wanted lemon chicken. I know the hubs isn’t a huge fan of citrus that doesn’t involve lemonade or margaritas, so I was treading in some pretty shallow water. Walking a really thin line. And all those glorious clichés.
I had to be careful.
I planned on adding some lemon juice to the broth, but didn’t. I’m glad I didn’t. I think that would have made it TOO lemon-y for S. As it was, the whole lemon with the rind offered up a good amount that wasn’t too over powering and wasn’t too much lemon flavor. Or so I thought.
I said, “That’s the right amount of lemon! I just wanted a hint.”
S, “That’s not really a “hint” of lemon.”
Me, “No, I mean that’s the perfect amount. Any more would be too much.”
S, “Still, that’s not really a hint of lemon.”
So, yeah. Had to tread lightly where the lemon is concerned. Personally, I LOVE lemon. I love lemon desserts, cookies, cakes, pies, lemon chicken, etc.
I mean, just look at that dish!! You know it’s going to be flavorful with all those colors, textures, and a delicious sauce bringing it all together. Grab a fork, and maybe a spoon, because you’re not going to want to miss one little piece of orzo or spoonful of sauce in this dish.
Okay. I know the professional say you should put flavor in the water when you’re cooking pasta, rice, or potatoes. And, honestly, we used to do that when I was growing up. We would have a roast and use that broth to cook noodles. And they were the.best.noodles.ever! I’m not sure why I stopped doing that. Well, I sort of do. We use the broth for gravy. It’s been decades since I’ve had noodles cooked in roast beef broth. I should change that.
Especially after this recipe. I would have cooked the orzo in the pot with the chicken if I was home, but since this is a slow cooker recipe, I ladled some of the broth into the pot leaving about 2 cups left in the slow cooker. Then I filled the pot with enough water to cook the orzo, about another 2 cups or so, and then cooked the pasta in that flavor filled mixture. I could have licked the bowl. The orzo was that tasty.
You like how I tried to fancy it up with the plate? That’s actually a salad plate. And it happened to be the only large plate I had at the office. And if I didn’t photograph my lunch there would be no recipe because we ATE ALL THE THINGS! ate it all. Wouldn’t you?
What are your thoughts on lemons in dishes or desserts?
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 cups fat free chicken stock
- 1 whole lemon, thinly sliced
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons garlic salt
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 4 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 8 ounces orzo, uncooked
- Place the chicken thighs in the liner of a slow cooker coated with cooking spray. Arrange the lemon slices and sprigs of rosemary and thyme over the chicken.
- Sprinkle the chicken with the garlic salt and pepper then pour the chicken broth over top.
- Cook on low 5 to 7 hours or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Stir in the spinach and let it cook while you cook the orzo and finish the sauce.
- Place 1 1/2 cups of the chicken juice in a medium saucepan. Add enough cold water to boil and orzo. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook the orzo according to package directions omitting the salt and oil.
- Pour the remaining juices in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Combine the water and the cornstarch. Add to the boiling broth and then simmer until thickened.
- Place 1/2 cup of orzo on each of four plates. Top with 1/2 cup of spinach, and two chicken thighs. Ladle the sauce over the chicken thighs and serve.