Tuesday, May 10, 2011


The Food of Love
Mediterranean Lemon Chicken with Artichokes and Orzo

It's hard to believe how much I disliked oregano when I was a child. Like capers and eggplant, I've come to love this herb and associate it with flavors of the Mediterranean. This quick and easy dish is as delicious as it is fragrant. Fresh lemon juice--and even some grated zest--amp up the flavors. It's based on a recipe from Everyone Loves Chicken.

Serves 2-6, depending on size of chicken legs (mine were very small)
6 oz orzo
2 oz reduced-fat feta cheese
8 pitted Kalamata olives, sliced
6 (1/2 lb) whole chicken legs, skinned (please let me know if you find these behemoths!)
salt and pepper
1 can artichoke hearts in brine, drained and quartered
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp fresh oregano leaves (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
optional: freshly grated lemon zest

Cook the orzo according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the feta and olives; cover and keep warm.

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Spray a large, nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned, 3-4 minutes on each side. Transfer chicken to a plate.

Add the artichoke hearts, garlic, and oregano to the skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Return the chicken to the skillet and add the broth and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook about 20 minutes, until the chicken is done.

Transfer the chicken to a plate. Pour 1 cup of the artichoke sauce over the orzo and toss well. Divide the orzo and chicken, sprinkle with the zest, if desired, and top with the remaining sauce.

N.I. based on 1 leg, 1/2 cup orzo, and scant 1/4 cup sauce:  365 cal, 10 g fat, 91 mg chol, 864 mg sodium, 32 g carb, 5 g fiber, 36 g protein
Bright, bold flavors, succulent dark meat, and just the right amount of saltiness from the Kalamatas and the Feta make this a new favorite. I believe, in retrospect, that by "whole leg," the recipe was calling for the leg and thigh. Damn! I cheated myself out of some protein. Not to worry, though; I ate 2 legs. I heartily recommend this one.


  1. 1/2lb chicken legs? I have never seen them that big! This is a really delicious looking meal.

  2. Arlene, this looks delicious. While neither of us care for oregano, I would simply leave it out. I will definitely give it a try.

  3. I love mediterranean style... orzo is waiting in my pantry to be cooked ,this is just perfect...artichokes and lemon chicken and I love the oregano... going to try this with chicken breasts... have to add the feta on top we are huge cheese lovers... looks so awesome!

  4. I would've thought the recipe was calling for only the chicken leg too, but I bet you're right about it including the thigh. I can see how this one would be a winner. I love these flavors.

  5. Oh yum, this would be a great dinner for me! I love how simple, but flavorful it would be.

  6. Those were my thoughts, that it was probably the leg and thigh still attached. Oh well...either way this sounds delicious, I do love the mediterranean flavors. This meal would definitely make me happy :D

  7. I am an oregano fan and this does look like the perfect Mediterranean dinner. Loving the artichoke hearts. Yum! ;-)

  8. One of my favorite recipes from the Weight Watchers Magazine!


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