Herb Grilled Chicken with Orzo


When modern man no longer had to hunt, nor cultivate, nor worry about where his next apple was coming from, he created pesticides.  This was about the same time that grapefruit started to taste bitter because man had a surfeit of comestibles at his disposal that he didn’t necessarily have to shoot or grow himself.


Having time on his hands, modern man decided that he not only wanted to see beauty in art but also on his plate because, you see, he wasn’t really hungry and had a desire to eat also with his eyes.   The French started this.  In France it is essential to get to the farmers’ market early if you don’t want produce with fingerprints that has been squeezed and pawed so much that it’s practically colorless.  The French invented food art.


As more and more people passed over bug eaten, malformed fruits and vegetables in search of perfection, no longer content to wash it off and kiss it up to God, business man decided to supply that demand by talking the problem over with science man.  The concern was health; who knows what those bugs and/or worms were eating they asked, and although the answer was apparent, it wasn’t marketable.  So that’s why.


Jade’s home today, ready to “eat Hell off the cross” as my grandmother used to say.  Soon I will be as old as my grandmother was when I knew her and am practicing these “bon mots” to insert into conversations with young people 🙂


The poultry man in the market sells great local products; fresh and pre-boiled eggs, turkey, duck and chicken.  Last week he was out of poussin, but he had some Spring-like chickens that caught my eye.  Why did I buy two?  They looked nice sitting next to each other and I didn’t want to break up the set.  Plus, we like chicken salad 🙂


Spatchcock time!  I haven’t spatchcocked anything in a long time and needed the practice in case my mind starts to go.  I looked in the garden and saw loads of herbs, so I took some sage, rosemary, thyme and oregano to slather on the chicken with olive oil.

I don’t like rice or risotto.  I know, gasp.  That’s just the way it is.  But I like orzo/risseti/risoni because it’s shaped like rice but is actually pasta.


The Italians are so clever!  Thank you Italian people!  I boiled some orzo with chicken broth and mixed in chopped fresh basil and Parmesan before serving.  So good.


We had courgette with the chicken and orzo because it’s good and you can practically cook it with just a smoldering glance.

Herb Grilled Chicken

2 small chickens, spatch cocked and seasoned with salt and pepper

3 tbsp mixed fresh herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano), chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 -5 tbsp olive oil

Mix the herbs, garlic and olive oil together in a small bowl, then smear it all over the chicken.  Save any reserve for basting.  If you don’t have any reserve, pour a little olive oil in the same bowl and baste with that.

Preheat the grill by turning the burners on to the maximum, until the temperature reaches 450 -500 F.   Turn half the burners down to low and brown the chicken skin side down, weighting them with a cast iron skillet to flatten.  Remove the skillet, baste the inside of the chicken and turn over, skin side up, basting the skin.  Grill the inside for about 5 minutes, turn the burners on the chicken side completely off, lower the top and grill for about 45 -50 minutes, turning and basting occasionally.

Basil Orzo

2 tbsp butter

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 cup dried orzo

1 2/3 cup chicken broth

Salt and pepper

1 1/2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Melt the butter in a large saute pan, then saute the orzo and garlic until the pasta begins to brown.  Add the broth, salt and pepper, bring to a boil, cover, then simmer for about 20 minutes.  Stir in the basil and cheese and serve.


About cookinginsens

An American living in Burgundy, France
This entry was posted in Cooking, Food and Wine, Italian, Main dishes, Recipes, side dish and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Herb Grilled Chicken with Orzo

  1. Conor Bofin says:

    Another lovely one Rosemary. Unfortunately, here in Ireland, one pays a significant premium for the more natural foods. In my experience in France the descending order of price and ascending order of quality is supermarket, market, farm. Here in Ireland, that tends to half true. The price ascends the closer to buying from the grower one gets. Bizarre, but true.

  2. redrice57 says:

    Fabulous in every respect – I could eat this right now!

  3. Tessa says:

    What a lovely meal! Your basil orzo looks and sounds so delicious! I’ve got some orzo in the cupboard and some basil still growing out in the garden. I’m making this for dinner tomorrow! Thank you for the inspiration!

  4. I love the idea of cooking with a smouldering glance 🙂 Lovely chicken!

  5. Jenny said “Very nice picture, very healthy dinner…when can she come to dinner? Love to Jade.”
    I’ll second that:)

  6. pwhovian21 says:

    Reblogged this on pwhovian.

  7. cecilia says:

    I love how you write and though i have never heard that expression ‘ eat hell off a cross” it intrigues me and i may adopt it too but my mind has already gone and who knows what it will come out sounding like. beautiful chicken dinner, in a few weeks i will have chicken in the freezer and i will be back to study this again.. Have a wonderful day.. c

  8. Mad Dog says:

    Great post – you made me laugh!
    I was quite surprised the first time I saw an old man go through all the camembert in a French supermarket and poke his finger into each one to see which was ripest. I haven’t bought one since without giving it a thorough inspection for finger marks.

    • Thank you Mad. The camembert story is dis-gusting! M. Parret usually tells me what to buy and where to buy it, and that’s usually in the farmers’ market where the cheeses are not accessible to cheese pokers. However, sometimes I pick up the odd bit of cheese in the supermarket and I REALLY appreciate the heads up! Bleah!

  9. Oh man, I’ll be checking my cheeses! My mum used to make a great chicken orzo dish with green olives when I was growing up. I loved it. Unfortunately the recipe was lost so some day I’ll try to recreate it. As to what Conor was saying about the markets, I noticed the same thing when I went to the “farmer’s” market in Swanage. Nothing was really local and it was very basic. A lot of it was from the south of Spain. Sad really.

  10. Rosemary! So glad you used the spatchcock technique. I think it is a very effective way for the homecook to get a perfectly cooked chicken. Well done.

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