Thursday, June 12, 2008

REPEAT: Orzo “Risotto” with Chicken, Sausage and Peppers

This video recipe premiered a long time ago, and I'm not sure how many of you newer viewers have seen it, so I thought it would make a great rerun. I'm working on the homemade cheese video, which should be up soon. In the meantime, enjoy this great recipe.

Orzo (also known as melon seed pasta) is one of my favorite choices for pasta salad. I really like the shape and texture, and it makes for a very interesting cold sidedish. Here, I had the idea of using it for a hot dish in the same way one would use an Arborio rice to make risotto. Instead of boiling the orzo in salted water and draining, I thought it would be interesting to cook it the same way risotto is cooked, by adding small additions of fla
vorful stock until it’s tender (or al dente if you prefer). I made that flavorful stock by braising chicken and sausage, as you’ll see.

This dish is really all over the place; most of the ingredients are kind of Spanish/Portuguese, there are techniques from India and Italy involved, and just to make things even stranger, I use a chili pepper usually found only in Mexican cuisine. But, none of that matters, this dish tastes great and is pretty easy to make. The other good thing is, whoever you serve this to probably hasn’t had it before, so no matter how it comes out you can always say, “yeah, that’s how it’s suppose to be!”

I’ve had many requests for a risotto demo. The reason I haven’t done one is because who wants to watch someone stand at a stove and stir a pot of rice? Well, I tried to edit this to make it somewhat bearable, but the basic technique is the same; slowly adding stock and stirring until its almost absorbed and then adding more. This is a dish that will be great the first time you make it, and REALLY great the second time you make it, as you get the technique down. My orzo took about 15-20 minutes to absorb enough stock to become tender – but that’s just a very rough guide since there are so many factors; the heat, size of your orzo, shape of pot, etc. Be brave and enjoy yourself…you're cooking!

By the way, I didn’t mention it in the clip, but I removed the skin and bones from the chicken thighs once they were cool enough to handle, before I added them back into the final dish. Also, this is one of the VERY rare dishes I didn’t add garlic to. The sausage I used had a lot of garlic in it so I didn’t think it was needed. Enjoy.



Ingredients:
1/2 pound orzo pasta
6 chicken thighs (seasoned with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp black pepper)
1 lb. Linguisa sausage (or any spicy sausage)
1 quart chicken stock
1 red bell pepper
1 green Pasilla or bell pepper
1/2 yellow onion
1 tbl paprika
1 tbl cumin
1 tbl Herb de Provence
1 tsp salt
1 bay leaf
fresh parsley

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sorry, my computer is not behaving so I couldn't go through the usual "contact us" route. My question is about sausage and hot dogs. I work in South Korea, where corn dogs are hot dogs and everything else is a sausage. Is there a clear cut way to distinguish the two? For example, do sausages have herbs and hot dogs do not?

Any help would be greatly appreciated, for the kids sake.

Thanks

Ryan
theothergreen@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

Sorry, my computer is not behaving so I couldn't go through the usual "contact us" route. My question is about sausage and hot dogs. I work in South Korea, where corn dogs are hot dogs and everything else is a sausage. Is there a clear cut way to distinguish the two? For example, do sausages have herbs and hot dogs do not?

Any help would be greatly appreciated, for the kids sake.

Thanks

Ryan
theothergreen@hotmail.com

Chef John said...

i dont fully understand the question, but hot dogs are a specific kind of sausage, a german frankfurter. There are thousands of sausage varieties with all kind of spices, meats and textures.

Anonymous said...

Hey Chef - thanks for the play-on-risotto recipe. Can't wait to try it - just as soon as you let us in on the ingredients for the "secret spice mix".

Chef John said...

oops! I didnt copy and paste all the ingredients!! ill fix now

dandelion said...

This is one of my favorite recipes of yours. I have taken it to several functions and everyone raves about it. THX

Anonymous said...

This looks great! I've only been playing with Risotto for about 6 months now, and last week made my first gumbo. This looks like a great combination.

sorina said...

It look's to good to be through I am definitely going to try this

ghanima said...

I think I might have an answer for Ryan's question, also having roots in an Asian nation.

In North America, hot dogs are a specific type of sausage, usually found at supermarkets in shrink-wrapped packages that look like these. They're almost always mass-produced and are often served boiled, although they can be grilled or pan-fried. The Japanese "octopus" served with childrens' bento boxes is a hot dog.

Culturally, sausages tend to be more of a smaller-industry food, although major food corporations make them as well. Still, anybody can make them. They're usually enclosed in sausage casings which you can extract the meat from -- hot dogs don't really allow for that. While they can be served boiled, most North Americans are more familiar with grilling or pan-frying them.

Here's About.com's

Adi Grahito said...

See My site also about food and forage. Good Blog!

Anonymous said...

Chef John,
I cooked this last night for my wife and I and we both loved it. Thanks.
Martin

Chef John said...

great! I love that recipe

Amy Lynn said...

Made this tonight, and hubby said I "outdid myself" :) We were out of cumin, sadly, so we just left it out. It was delicious.

dan said...

Chef John,

I have some duck legs that I would like to use in an orzo risotto. What spices and sausage would you recommend with duck? I have some merguez sausage in my freezer. Would that work for the sausage?

Thanks

Hegesias said...

Is one cup a reasonable approximation even though the 8 oz. the package you show is likely weight rather than volume? I've no scales and Orzo is only sold is large packages 'round these parts.

Chef John said...

a cup is about 7 oz, so close

Spot in Cyberspace said...

Yum...perhaps my children will be convinced to eat something besides dry white meat...putting on the 'must try' list of recipes! thanks.

dandelion said...

Chef how many servings does this recipe make. THx

Chef John said...

2 huge or 4 smaller portions.