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Friday, 20 September 2013

Greek-style simple comfort food: Orzo pasta rice with chicken and peas (Κριθαράκι, κοτόπουλο και μπιζέλια/αρακά)

Here's a picture that won over many people's hearts on my facebook site:

The vegetables were cooked separately from the pasta and chicken: I cooked them in this way, because some of us prefer the vegetables and the others prefer the meat and pasta. If I combined everything, it wouldn't have had the same effect on the family. It looks like double the work, but it gave double the pleasure. Both dishes are made in the same way - and it was terribly easy to make.

For the orzo dish, you need:
some chicken (I used about 500g of chicken with the bone, in small pieces)
1 onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 large fresh tomato, grated
3-5 glugs of extra virgin olive oil
350g orzo pasta rice
2-3 cups water
1 large red bell pepper (optional), finely sliced
salt and pepper

For the pea dish, you need:
500g mixed peas and other frozen vegetables
1 onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 large fresh tomato, grated
3-5 glugs of extra virgin olive oil
1 large red bell pepper (optional), finely sliced
salt and pepper

Proceed in the same way as described below, for each dish: Heat the oil, add the onion and garlic, and cook till transparent. Add the grated tomato, red pepper, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Mix till smooth. Lower the heat to minimum, then add the chicken/mixed vegetables. Cook till done with the lid on - the chicken will need about 30 minutes, the peas etc about 15. Add only a little bit of water if needed, to ensure the food has enough liquids to cook in and won't stick to the pan.

For the orzo, now add the water to the chicken and then pour in the pasta, mixing carefully so that the pasta isn't clumpy. Let it cook slowly on minimum heat, with the lid off. The water will be absorbed by the pasta - turn off the heat just when the water is almost absorbed, and you can still see some liquid in the pot.

You still have time until Sunday to add your name to the draw for a natural beauty package from Aphrodite's Embrace

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