Chicken Thighs with Tomato, Orzo, Olives, and Feta

March 4, 2015

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: Last night, when I came up with this easy one pot of goodness, I was pretty excited and super satisfied. It’s a perfect, easy meal to throw together during the work week and there are leftovers for the next day’s lunch to boot.onetinyspark

Food52 Review: I really liked the technique of toasting the orzo before cooking—it might be a gem of a trick for other pasta recipes. This is an all-around solid one pot meal, and especially nice using in-season tomatoes and basil (though it's best eaten day of). emily olson

Serves: 2 to 4


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 ounces grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 2 tablespoons Kalamata olives, halved
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cups crumbled feta
  • Fresh basil, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Drizzle of finishing olive oil—I like the smoked variety
In This Recipe


  1. First, toast the orzo. It’s a bit of a pain, but it really improves the flavor. Heat a large skillet or a Dutch oven if you’re so inclined (I find a reason to use my Staub cocotte for everything) over medium-high heat. Toast the orzo until it is lightly browned, but before it gets too fragrant. Spoon the orzo into a bowl and set aside.
  2. Next up is the chicken. Pat the thighs dry and season with oregano, paprika, salt, and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet or Dutch oven on medium-high heat until it is nice and hot and beginning to smoke. Brown the chicken for roughly three minutes on each side, then remove it and set it aside. Turn the heat down a notch and add in the other tablespoon of oil and the minced garlic. Cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant, but be careful not to burn it. Then pour in the broth and throw in the tomatoes and orzo. Give the mixture a good stir and bring it to a boil.
  3. Finally, add the chicken back in, cover the skillet/Dutch oven, and let it sit on medium-low heat until the orzo is tender and the chicken is cooked through. This will take 15 minutes or so. Be sure to check on the dish from time to time as you don’t want the orzo to become mushy and overcooked.
  4. When ready, turn off the heat and add in the red pepper flakes, capers, Kalamata olives, feta, and basil. Top it all off with a drizzle of nice finishing oil, give it another good stir or two and you’re ready to serve!

More Great Recipes:
Stew|Capers|Chicken|Feta|Grains|Olive|Orzo|Paprika|Tomato|Oregano|One-Pot Wonders|Entree

Reviews (49) Questions (0)

49 Reviews

SCalabretta December 13, 2018
Even without most of the ingredients (tomatoes, olives, capers--I know, I know), this was delicious. Toasting the orzo kept it from becoming mushy. I added spinach and a squirt of lemon at the end.
KitchVega October 15, 2018
I made this tonight because by some miracle I had all these ingredients on hand. I also added half a tablespoon of nduja for more of a spicy kick. I thought it was great with chicken but I think really amazing with shellfish such as shrimp or lobster. Well done and I will make again!
BahtHarim October 7, 2018
Lovely recipe, I will definitely try it. However, I would use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, and brown them first. They have the best flavor as compared to boneless skinless thighs, and the Browning will add some lovely fond to the pot and add much deeper flavor to the entire dish.
Sarah September 30, 2018
Would spinach be good added into this?
Author Comment
onetinyspark October 1, 2018
I think so! I’d add it in towards the end so it can wilt with the heat of the other ingredients.
ellen E. January 14, 2018
Can this be frozen?
Abbey November 12, 2017
Love this recipe--full of flavor, and really easy!
jon407 September 23, 2017
We just made this last night and loved it. we didn't hav any orzo in the house so I ended up using quinoa and it was fantastic. We'll definitely make this again and might incorporate some of the suggestions already listed.
cosmiccook September 22, 2017
M--that is EXACTLY what the problem is. Orzo is a pasta, Arborio a rice. You'd need about 5 times or more of liquid using Arborio. <br />I've made this dish several times--with chicken AND shrimp. I add frozen artichokes quarters, lemon slices and wine. When doing seafood I used seafood stock. Do try it again w Orzo--you won't be disappointed.<br />
Valerie September 22, 2017
Have made this twice now. I actually cook the thighs for a little while to tenderise them a bit more (it's just that I prefer them a tad overdone!) and added the orzo for the last 10 - 15 mins so that it didn't get overcooked! However, with the amount of orzo in the recipe my dish certainly looked a little different to your picture - much more orzo in mine. However, I didn't mind as I love orzo. All around a great and tasty dish. The final addition of olives, capers, feta and basil makes all the difference. (I probably increased the amounts a tad if I'm honest - love those flavours) Delicious!
M September 13, 2017
I made this the other night, but it did not work well for me. We didn't have orzo, so I subbed arborio rice - maybe that was the problem? The thighs + arborio rice made it too fatty/creamy and the feta just melted in, too, adding to the problem. I would be willing to try again, but definitely with orzo and with a different protein. Also, I would save the feta for a sprinkling on top. I have leftovers sitting in my fridge, and sadly, they'll go in the garbage.
Katherine September 12, 2017
Have done an almost identical dish with shrimp. Love it. Don't know why I haven't tried the base with chicken. Can't wait!
Gail August 31, 2017
Loved this! It came together quickly, and clean up was a breeze. Didn't have capers in hand, so finished with a squeeze of lemon. Thank you for sharing!
kim May 11, 2017
Made recipe twice now and while all the flavors are so delicious the chicken thighs seem to turn out too fatty for this. I will use chicken breasts next time for this. Has anyone made this with chicken breasts?
Marisa February 6, 2017
Made it with farro instead of orzo. I toasted the farro according to the instructions for the orzo and it was nutty and delicious.
suzanne October 1, 2016
This was incredible. Will definitely make it again!
FJT September 8, 2016
Delicious and easy - I'll definitely be making this again! I used gluten-free orzo. I also cut each chicken thigh into three pieces and added the paprika, oregano and seasonings a few hours before I wanted to cook. Don't know if it made any difference, but I figured it as I had the time it couldn't hurt!
Tisa September 8, 2016
Made this last night, and it was AMAZING!! This is a perfect week night dinner that is packed with flavor and easy to pull together. Toasting the orzo was such a great suggestion. We will definitely add this to our repertoire.
Tracy Y. September 8, 2016
Would this work with rice instead of orzo? Maybe arborio?
Author Comment
onetinyspark September 8, 2016
I think it's worth a shot - would love to try it with arborio!
Tracy Y. September 10, 2016
So the arborio rice worked well. I increased the chicken stock to aprox 2 cups and cooked it for around half an hour. Delicious!
Jamie W. September 6, 2016
Can't wait to try sounds awesome.<br />May have to try it for my book club!
javafiend September 6, 2016
Are you sure about the amount of kalamata olives being 2 Tbs? Because that's like 2
Author Comment
onetinyspark September 6, 2016
Use as many kalamata olives as you like!