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One pot chicken, leek and orzo

It's hard to fault the merits of a one pot dinner, even when washing up is a break from racing around after toddlers. You can always pretend you're washing up and have a stealth laze instead.

Here’s one to keep bellies happy throughout the year: succulent chicken, sweet leeks, tangy tomatoes, zingy lemon and creamy orzo (under valued in general, I find, but oh so good).

Adjust the herbs according to season and what you have. Fresh dill would be lovely, or basil in Summer. Leave out the chicken for a comforting vegetarian dish, adding broccoli (cooked in the same way as the chicken) and/or some healthy hunks of ricotta or mozzarella.

These quantities will probably give you orzo left over. It’s still good the next day reheated with a splash of stock of hot water. If you’re cooking for more people, use chicken thighs rather than whole legs, to make the chicken go further (no one likes to share a leg).

Chicken, leek and orzo one pot dinner

Serves 4 generously

* Chicken legs - 4

* Leeks - 2, cleaned and sliced **

* Garlic - 2 cloves, peeled and sliced

* Lemon - 1

* Orzo - 2 cups

* White wine - 1 cup

* Sun dried tomatoes - 6, chopped

* Thyme - leaves from a few sprigs

In a large oven proof pan, heat a glug of olive oil on a medium high heat. Season the chicken legs and brown them all over in the pan. Remove and set aside.

Add the leeks to the pan and stir well to coat with the chicken juices. Add the zest of the lemon and the garlic slices. Once the leeks are sizzling, add a little splash of water, cover and leave to steam for 20 minutes, stirring every now and then.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees fan/ 200 conventional.

Add the orzo to the leeks, along with the tomatoes, wine, the juice of half a lemon and half a teaspoon of salt (only if using unsalted stock). Stir well, then add the stock and stir again.

Place the chicken legs skin side up on top of the orzo and pop the whole thing in the oven for 40 minutes. Enjoy hot from the oven or still warm on a summer’s eve.

** Don’t be scrimpy with your leeks. You can use almost all the green parts, unless they’re very dried out, when you cook them slowly this way.



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