Thursday, 14 August 2008

Orzo with Chicken, Chorizo and Aubergine

This is yet another spur of the moment dinner, inspired purely by what I had left in the fridge - namely a pack of chicken thighs and an aubergine. I had to be out the door within the hour too - so it had to be ready in half an hour... and it was!

After the slight confusion from Tuesday's use of the word courgette (zucchini!), I think it may well be wise to explain up front that an aubergine is none other than the North American eggplant. What I didn't know, is that brinjal also means aubergine in India and South African English! (I always assumed it was an Indian ingredient that I couldn't get here!!)

Want more? Well, aubergine and brinjal have etymological similarities, both deriving from Arabic/Sanskrit. (The Sanskrit vatin-ganah begat the Persian badin-gan and badin-gan begat the Arabic al-badinjan and al-badinjan begat the Catalan albergínia and albergínia begat the French aubergine... which us Brits basically stole for our own!)

The North American/Australasian use of eggplant started in the 18th century - when some fruits* were white or yellow, and resembled goose or hen eggs!

Language lesson over for the day - let the recipe begin!

Orzo with Chicken, Chorizo and Aubergine

Makes loads!!
  • 6 chicken thighs, bone in and with skin
  • 1 aubergine (eggplant!)
  • 100g chorizo, chopped into smallish chunks
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 250g orzo
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • cayenne pepper for seasoning chicken
  • 250ml water or chicken stock
  • oil to fry
  • salt and pepper to taste
Prepare the Meat...
Heat oil in a hot pan. I used olive oil, tempered with some ground nut to reduce the smoke point. Throw in the chorizo and fry for a minute or two. Keeping it moving so it doesn't burn. Ideally we want some crispy edges... and for some of the tasty spicy oil to be released. Remove the chorizo from the pan and turn up the heat to very hot

Cut off any excess fat or skin from the chicken, leaving enough on protect the meat when searing. Season with salt and cayenne pepper.

When the oil is hot, carefully lay in the chicken thighs, skin side down. Allow to sear for 2/3 minutes - the skin should be nicely crisped and browned, but not burnt. Remove to a plate and reduce the heat to medium.

Prepare the Pasta...
In a saucepan, mix the orzo with the tomatoes, garlic, paprika and seasoning. Top up with the chicken stock or water and bring to the boil. Place the chicken thighs into the pan skin-side up, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes - or until the chicken is cooked through.

Prepare the Aubergine...
Meanwhile, cut the aubergine into 1" chunks and add them to the frying pan that the chicken/chorizo was cooked in. Fry until browned, but don't overcook!

When the pasta/chicken is ready, mix in the aubergine and serve. Preferably with a large glass of red!

Oh - I seem to have a three in one foodie event situation again!

As it cost about £3.70 (just over $7 ?) for the whole thing, I'm going to make this my second submission to Frugal Fridays! And if it's not quite as healthy as last week's entry - I still don't think it's doing too bad!!

Although almost all of my recipes are my own, I've singled this one this week to send to Lore at Culinarty for her Original Recipes event... It was just so yummy, I felt it had to be shared!

It's the first time I'd cooked with orzo - and I'm definitely going to be stocking up. I'm sending it to Ruth at Once Upon a Feast, who is hosting Presto Pasta Night this week!

Culinarty Original Recipe RoundupPresto Pasta Nights

Frugal Fridays

* oh yeah, did I mention they are fruits not vegetables?!

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Fearless Kitchen said...

This looks fabulous. The photo kind of looks a bit like youvetsi, a traditional Greek dish, but in practice it looks a lot less time-intensive. I love chorizo, so I absolutely have to try this.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

That look delicious Kittie! Yum! Orzo, eggplant, tomatoes and chicken all together! Yum!

Foodycat said...

You had better stock up fast - my regular supplier of orzo isn't stocking it any more and I am having a deal of difficulty finding more!

Lore said...

Oh no, you also had a confussion situation to handle after a courgette post? So did I :)
Anyways, your pasta dish looks yummy and I bet it could make many men eat aubergine although they usually don't really care for it. Believe me that says it all, I married the pickiest of all.
Thanks for your entry!
P.S Isn't orzo the cuttest pasta ever?

Ben said...

Thanks for the language lesson! I like learning where words come from and how the same thing can have so many different names in different parts of the world. I love this recipe because the best way to eat chicken is in the bone and with skin. That's where all the flavor is, right?

Ruth Daniels said...

I too love orzo AND chicken AND chorizo AND even more than both of those....aubergine! Great combo, thanks for sharingwith Presto pasta Nights.

Dee said...

Ooh, the orzo looks amazing, Kittie! I've never cooked with orzo, dunno why. Must definitely get some!

Kevin said...

That looks really tasty!

Helen said...

There is just something about orzo isn't there? I love the texture and with chorizo? Yum!

kittie said...

fk - I've had youvetsi before - though never made it myself. I definitely vouch that this was an easy one though!! (Though I think I may have lost the Greek/Turkish connection when I added the chorizo ;)

An unplanned but tasty combo Jenn!!

Foodiecat - I get mine from a Turkish shop (though can't remember the Turkish name for Orzo!) Dirt cheap too!!

Lore - Divided by a common language or some such thing! Where are you based anyway?! My mission is to make picky eaters eat! (My ex wouldn't eat cream or cheese - but I got him to try brie once. He hated it... but it amused me ;)

I like language trivia too Ben! And y'know - you could really taste the difference with having the whole thigh in this!

I must've been channelling your likes when I came up with this one Ruth!

dee - it was my first time and I loved it - try it, try it!!

It was! I think it could become a winter staple Kevin!

Oh definitely Helen - definitely going to a few orzo recipes coming up from me!

Tom Aarons said...

This looks so rich and tasty and filling. Yum.

Bellini Valli said...

A meal all in one pot..that's what i like in a pinch:D

ley said...

Wow that looks really, really good! I've never really cooked with eggplant before. I've been meaning to try it forever, though...this would be a good dish to start with!

Jeanne said...

Love the etymology lesson and yes, I can vouch for the fact that South African English uses brinjal - that's what I grew up calling them :)

kittie said...

Tom - And it was! Thanks for dropping by!

Val - One pot cooking rocks - who wants to spend all night cleaning up?! :)

Ley, this would definitely be a good one to start with as it's easy and totally not overpowering!

jeanne - I am so pleased to find out that's what it meant! Conversions are necessary when reading international blogs!!

Apples and Butter said...

Great recipe and I got a kick out of your language lesson. I have a few cookbooks I picked up in England and I love reading the BBC's Good Food magazine, but I had to go on a google hunt when I came across those words for the first time!

xlpharmacy said...

This is a complete lunch, I mean it has rice and special ingredients such as "chorizo, chicken and Orzo" that's perfect because I've prepared rice with only one meat but not with this variation.