Crock Pot Greek Lemon Chicken And Orzo Recipe

The cuisine of Greece reflects the country's warm, Mediterranean climate, and developer De Witt tells us that this Mediterranean-inspired slow cooker recipe "is a play on all of the favorite flavors of Greek cooking, [such as] lemon, garlic, olives, tomatoes, and oregano." She also notes that it is quite easy to make, describing it as "an easy, satisfying dish that can be put together quite quickly with minimal chopping."

How minimal is the prep work involved? De Witt estimates that it should only take 10 minutes or so. Yes, you do have to peel and chop an onion (try cutting it underwater to help keep your eyes from tearing up), but it's only a small one, and you'll just need to mince a few cloves of garlic, as well. You can even use scissors to snip not only the dill but also the sun-dried tomatoes and olives. You won't need to chop up the last two until 30 minutes before the dish is done since, as De Witt explains, "I add the olives and sun-dried tomatoes near the end of the cooking time to prevent them from becoming too soft." Once the slow cooker's worked its magic, you'll have a complete meal with meat, vegetables, and even a starch in the form of orzo.

Collect the ingredients to make Crock Pot Greek lemon chicken and orzo

The main ingredients used in this slow cooker meal are chicken thighs, spinach, and orzo, with onion, garlic, oregano, Kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, oregano, dill, feta cheese, and lemon used for flavoring. You'll also need chicken stock, salt, pepper, and oil (De Witt favors avocado) for cooking.

Step 1: Heat the cooking oil

Place the oil in a saute pan over high heat.

Step 2: Brown the chicken in batches

Working in batches, sear the chicken skin-side down until lightly browned, approximately 1 minute.

Step 3: Salt the chicken as it cooks

Season the chicken with 1 teaspoon of salt as you fry.

Step 4: Put the chicken in a Crock Pot

After searing, add the chicken to a slow cooker.

Step 5: Fry the onions and garlic

Add onions and garlic to the same saute pan and cook over medium-high heat for 2 minutes.

Step 6: Put the onions and garlic in the Crock Pot

Add the contents of the saute pan to the slow cooker.

Step 7: Stir in the stock and oregano

Next, pour the chicken stock and oregano into the slow cooker. Stir.

Step 8: Simmer the chicken

Cook on high for 2 hours.

Step 9: Stir in the orzo, olives, and tomatoes

Add orzo, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes to the slow cooker. Stir well to ensure that the orzo is submerged in chicken stock. Continue cooking on high for 30 minutes.

Step 10: Take the chicken out of the Crock Pot

Remove chicken from the slow cooker and keep warm.

Step 11: Put the rest of the ingredients in the Crock Pot

Add spinach, feta, dill, lemon juice and zest, the remaining salt, and pepper. Stir, and continue cooking for 2 minutes more, until the spinach has wilted, all liquid has been absorbed, and the orzo is al dente.

Step 12: Plate and serve

Add orzo to a platter. Top with chicken and garnish with more dill, if desired, to serve.

What ingredient substitutions are possible for this Crock Pot Greek lemon chicken and orzo?

De Witt likes to make this dish with boneless chicken thighs, which she " sear[s] quickly on the side for a bit of color." She says you can use bone-in thighs, but in that case, she recommends searing them on both sides and also adds, "They will take a bit longer to cook, so plan to add 30 minutes to the cook time." You could also go with breasts instead of thighs if you prefer, although again, the bone-in ones should be seared on both sides and will take some extra time.

De Witt also explains that she favors Greek oregano as she feels that "the flavor is bolder than Italian oregano, and it adds a certain depth to the recipe." But, she allows that you can use the Italian kind instead if that's what you have in the cupboard. She says you can also use dried dill if you don't have the fresh kind, although she informs us that "dried dill is stronger than fresh," so her advice is to "reduce the amount of dried to ½ tablespoon." She also recommends adding it along with the oregano rather than waiting until the end as you would do with fresh dill.

How can I serve and store this Crock Pot Greek lemon chicken and orzo?

Although this Crock Pot Greek lemon chicken and orzo is a complete meal, De Witt says she likes to serve it with a green salad or some green vegetables, such as string beans or broccoli. If you'd like to stick with a Greek theme, you could also go with roasted new potatoes sprinkled with oregano and lemon juice, or pair the chicken dish with baked eggplant or spanakopita.

However you choose to serve the Crock Pot Greek lemon chicken and orzo, you need not feel as if you have to finish all of it the same day you cook it. This dish is an excellent one for meal-prepping purposes since, as De Witt tells us, "Leftovers will taste even better the next day after the flavors have had a chance to develop." She says the chicken and orzo ought to last for 4 days if kept in a resealable container in the refrigerator, although it can also be frozen for longer storage.

Crock Pot Greek Lemon Chicken And Orzo Recipe
5 from 67 ratings
Mediterranean flavors flourish in this slow cooker meal. From feta to sun-dried tomatoes and Kalamata olives, each ingredient adds to the vibrant palette.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
2.6
hours
Servings
4
servings
chicken and orzo on plate
Total time: 2 hours, 46 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 + 1 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ¼ cups chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 cup orzo
  • ⅓ cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives
  • ¼ cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • ½ cup crumbled feta
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill, plus more for optional garnish
  • Juice and zest of ½ lemon
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Directions
  1. Place the oil in a saute pan over high heat.
  2. Working in batches, sear the chicken skin-side down until lightly browned, approximately 1 minute.
  3. Season the chicken with 1 teaspoon of salt as you fry.
  4. After searing, add the chicken to a slow cooker.
  5. Add onions and garlic to the same saute pan and cook over medium-high heat for 2 minutes.
  6. Add the contents of the saute pan to the slow cooker.
  7. Next, pour the chicken stock and oregano into the slow cooker. Stir.
  8. Cook on high for 2 hours.
  9. Add orzo, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes to the slow cooker. Stir well to ensure that the orzo is submerged in chicken stock. Continue cooking on high for 30 minutes.
  10. Remove chicken from the slow cooker and keep warm.
  11. Add spinach, feta, dill, lemon juice and zest, the remaining salt, and pepper. Stir, and continue cooking for 2 minutes more, until the spinach has wilted, all liquid has been absorbed, and the orzo is al dente.
  12. Add orzo to a platter. Top with chicken and garnish with more dill, if desired, to serve.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 709
Total Fat 28.5 g
Saturated Fat 7.9 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 355.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 30.1 g
Dietary Fiber 2.6 g
Total Sugars 4.2 g
Sodium 1,247.5 mg
Protein 79.7 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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