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If you’re a fan of risotto, you’ll love this one pot creamy chicken orzo with bacon and mushrooms just as much. It’s equally as delicious, with a very similar taste, but is simpler to make. And… there’s actually no cream in it!
Are you a fan of orzo recipes? Don’t even know what they are? Read on to find out!
Like risotto, but easier!
You could call this chicken, bacon and mushroom orzo ‘risotto for lazy people’.
Personally, I’m very partial to a lovingly-stirred risotto. But let’s face it, it can be a bore to make.
Add the stock too quickly, or fail to stir the rice enough, and you won’t end up with that lusciously silky, creamy result that makes a good risotto so delicious.
But luckily for me and for you, this one-pot chicken orzo tastes remarkably similar to a risotto!
So how do you make this delicious creamy chicken orzo?
This is all you have to do to make this delicious one pot meal:
After pan-frying your onions, herbs and chicken for a few moments, you simply dump in your dried orzo (a sort of rice-shaped pasta, just in case you were wondering!) and stock… and leave to cook.
Well OK. You stir it a few times to stop it sticking to the pan. But essentially once you’ve added everything, this chicken orzo pretty much cooks itself. I’ll take a bit (or a lot) of that on a busy weeknight!
If you like the sound of this meal, you have to try my one pot baked Greek chicken orzo, too. It’s similar, but tomato-y, and baked!
What ingredients do you need and what does it taste like?
There’s SO MUCH flavour in this.
The juicy chicken thigh, smoked bacon, and tasty brown mushrooms all give a good hit of flavour.
Then the big half-cupful of parmesan you dump in at the end brings out the flavours even more, giving the dish a gorgeous ‘umami’ quality.
Oh, and did I mention how creamy this is?
But there isn’t a drop of cream in it. Just like a risotto, the dish ends up quite creamy anyway, from the starch in the pasta I suppose, but also from the huge handful of parmesan.
I like to add a tablespoon of cream cheese to this dish at the end, too. You don’t have to do that, especially if it means buying a tub of cream cheese especially, but if you happen to have some in your fridge already… well, it would be criminal not to.
The final little ‘touch’ to my creamy chicken orzo is wilting in some big handfuls of spinach for extra nutrition. Frozen peas would do the same ‘healthifying’ job, of course.
How to serve it
This is one of those dishes that I could eat until I’m uncomfortably full (not that I’m speaking from experience of course).
You might think it’s purely a dish for winter, but I see it as a ‘meal for all seasons’. Serve with a simple green salad and a crisp white wine and I’d say it’s also a perfect light meal for a warm summer evening.
More delicious orzo recipes
- If you’re liking the one pot risotto style vibe in this post, you’ll also love this one pot baked Greek chicken orzo.
- You can make cold pasta salads with orzo too! Try this spinach, pesto and parmesan orzo salad. It’s great served as a salad side with grilled meat or fish.
- Orzo salad with feta, asparagus and chickpeas
- Did you know orzo’s also great in a soup? You have to try this creamy lemon chicken orzo soup. It’s incredible – and ready in 30 minutes!
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One-pot creamy chicken, bacon and mushroom orzo
Equipment (affiliate links)
- 1 tablespoon butter for cooking
- 1 onion chopped finely
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon each dried thyme and oregano
- 4 slices smoked bacon chopped
- 12 ounces skinless boneless chicken thighs I used 5 small ones, chopped into pieces
- 9 ounces dried orzo pasta (about 1 ½ cups )
- 4 1/4 cups chicken stock
- 5 ounces mushrooms sliced
- 6 ounces fresh spinach
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon cream cheese or a drizzle of cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- a squeeze or two of lemon
- Melt the butter in a large pan on a medium heat, then add the onion. Cook, stirring, for a few minutes until softened, then add the garlic and herbs. Cook for a minute or so longer.
- Add the bacon and chicken pieces to the pan and cook, stirring, for a few minutes until cooked on the outside.
- Add the dry orzo to the pan and stir in well, then pour in the chicken stock. Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the orzo doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan too much.
- Add the mushrooms and simmer for about another 10 minutes, or until the dish has thickened (there will still be some liquid, which is fine).
- At the last minute, stir in the spinach until wilted, then stir through the parmesan cheese and the tablespoon of cream cheese. Add salt, pepper, and lemon to taste.
- Serve immediately in bowls with more parmesan on top.