Don’t worry, you’re still in 2019 and we’ve not regressed to a 1970s dinner party! Of course I’m only joking, but a writing about a recipe for Chicken, Orzo & Feta Stuffed Peppers does have a sense of nostalgia about it.
Not that I recall having Stuffed Peppers that much when I was younger, mind you. When I think back to what was considered, by the middle classes at least, to be sophisticated I actually picture giant (beefsteak?) tomatoes filled with vegetable rice. The stalks balanced carefully atop them to try and create the illusion of a whole, unadulterated tomato. Presumably they were served with a glass of Blue Nun…
I’m probably being a little unfair, but you get the picture. For many years the stuffed vegetable was considered to be a little naff and very much out of fashion. A bit like the clothes I was forced to wear as a child. Not exactly high fashion but perfectly serviceable on the streets of Dorset in the 1980s. Fast forward ten years and you wouldn’t want to be seen dead in them…even in Poole.
However, like clothing food seems to go through cycles too. Thanks to the increase in plant-based diets, with increasing numbers of vegetarians and vegans, grains and the like are back in a big way. They’re also a great way to use up leftovers – as you can stir anything through a bowl of couscous and make a decent dinner. Well, as long as you have a punchy dressing to bring the flavours together.
Though, as much as I like a well-flavoured quinoa salad I can find it hard going by the twentieth mouthful. It all gets a bit “samey”. Making it more interesting isn’t difficult though – you just need to find ways to add a bit of theatre. And that, dear reader, is why I decided to make my Chicken, Orzo and Feta Stuffed Peppers.
The filling for these is a flavoursome combination of marinated chicken and orzo pasta. Indeed, it would have been great on its own for lunch with a few salad leaves. However, for dinner I decided to glam it up (retro-style) by presenting it in a roasted red pepper. The feta cheese on the top bringing some much needed sharpness to an otherwise delicately flavoured dish.
These make a lovely and light midweek meal – especially if you’re looking for something to enjoy in the sunshine with a glass of wine. But I can’t help but mention that should you be throwing a dinner party any time soon one half of a stuffed pepper would make a wonderful starter…
Chicken, Orzo & Feta Stuffed Peppers
For the Marinade
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 tsp Dried Oregano
- 1 tsp Paprika
- ½ tsp Garlic Granules
- ½ tsp Dried Thyme
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- ½ tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1 tbsp Tomato Purée
- 250 g Chicken Breast
For the Stuffed Peppers
- 200 g Dried Orzo Pasta
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- ½ Red Onion peeled and finely chopped
- 100 ml Chicken Stock
- 4 Red Peppers
- Spray Oil
- 150 g Feta Cheese crumbled or cut into small pieces
- 2 Spring Onions thinly sliced
- Salad Leaves to serve
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C
- Mix together the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Cut the chicken into small pieces, add to the bowl and mix until well coated. Put to one side until needed.
- Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the orzo and cook for 2 minutes less than the time indicated on the packaging. When cooked, drain and toss with a little oil to stop the pasta sticking together.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes or so, until starting to soften. Add the chicken and all of the marinade to the pan and mix through the onions. Fry for a few minutes until the chicken starts to colour, then add the chicken stock to the pan. Bring to a simmer for around 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
- Whilst the chicken is cooking you can prepare the peppers. Cut each in half, vertically, then carefully remove the seeds and any white membrane. Put onto a baking sheet and spray lightly with a little oil.
- Put into the oven for 5 minutes to start cooking.
- Meanwhile, mix together the chicken and cooked orzo pasta until well combined.
- Remove the peppers from the oven and divide the filling equally between them. Top each with some of the Feta and a few slices of spring onion.
- Return to the oven and bake for a further 15 minutes, until the peppers are tender.
- Serve immediately with a green salad.
|Estimated Values Per Serving|
|of which Saturates||7||g|
|of which Sugars||8||g|
Note: Nutritional Information is shown per serving of the recipe shown above. Any side dishes or garnishes shown in photos are not included unless they are specifically listed as part of the recipe.