Been awhile since the last post – cold cold winter – makes me hide away and not want to do very much!   Feeling a little bad that I have neglected MWCED so here goes for the latest weekend dish.   It was a chilly day, I knew I wanted to make something warm and yummy,  but easy and relatively quick.   I found this recipe, on scrummylane.com and thought it was just the thing.     Because I am in boots and all kind of person,  I didn’t realise quite a few of the ingredients weren’t in the cupboard.  Oh well,  there’s a few subs and a well rugged up walk to the shops.  All in all it was just right – and will certainly make again.


  • olive oil for cooking
  • about 500 grams/17.5 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano – damn, no oregano, so I used dried basil instead
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup orzo (rice-shaped pasta) – Big Damn, about ¼ cup Orzo left in the house, so quick walk down to the shops and a packet of Risoni to the rescue
  • 1 teaspoon paprika – would you Believe It! A smidgin of paprika only (WHO does the chalkboard reminders around here !) – so best friend google to the rescue – and who ever knew that you could sub turmeric and cayenne – about 60/40.   Would like to try with paprika next time – but still a great result.
  • 1 teaspoon allspice – YAY – we DID have this
  • salt/pepper
  • 1½ cups passata (sieved tomatoes) mixed with 1 cup chicken stock. OK no Passata either. But a tin of chopped tomatoes so a quick whiz in the blender and I reckon it’s an ok sub

To serve

  • chopped parsley and hard white cheese (use Greek kefalotiri if you can find it but if not use any hard white cheese – I used English Cheshire! Feta is great, too!) – we only had Feta. Mr MWCED not a great fan of Feta so I put this in a small dish on the side


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Heat a little (about 2 tablespoons) olive oil in a heavy-bottomed oven-proof pot, then brown the chicken for about 2 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken from the pot onto a plate and set aside.
  3. Add the onion to the pot and stir for a few minutes until it softens. Add the garlic and stir for a minute or so longer, then add the oregano, cinnamon and orzo and stir again for a minute or so until the orzo is coated with the juices/oil.
  4. Take the pot off the heat and then put the chicken back into the pot, then quickly sprinkle with the paprika, allspice, salt and pepper. Finally, pour over the passata and stock and give the pot a good stir.
  5. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Check and stir the pot a couple of times during cooking to stop the orzo from sticking too much. If at any time the dish looks too dry, just add an extra splash of water.
  6. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley and plenty of cheese to serve.

You could serve with a salad, but as it is winter here I would more likely do garlicky beans or some other greens, maybe braised brussel sprouts (recipe coming soon).   However for this serving I wanted to keep it really simple (because we had dessert later – a little speciality that Mr MWCED made earlier – a pear frangipane pie – ewww yes I am luckyyyyy)   so I liked the idea of just serving this with some really fresh home made bread.   I made a herb bread in the breadmaker (using pesto – thank you Alison Holst).   Perfect.

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