a delicious dinner in the works.
it may still be very much winter on the East Coast, but here in Oregon it was high 50s yesterday. So what are you going to do with weather so nice? Break out the propane grill of course!
Dad cooked up some steaks and a grill pan full of asparagus, red bell pepper, and some red onion. We also cooked up some of my favorite steak companions: mushrooms.
It was nice out by the grill with dad.
In the end, one of the best dinners I’ve had in a while.
I guess it’s not so much a fall dish, considering it relies on some great summer veg, but I like to make it in fall when it’s just starting to get cold out. I don’t really have a name for the dish either. When I want to make it, or others ask me to make it, it’s just “the orzo dish.” Anyways, I thought I’d share it with you guys. It’s full of veg and the chicken and orzo can easily be substituted for your own dietary needs or preferences. Also, I’m cooking for 4-5 people when I make this, so it’s a lot, but even if it’s just for 1 or 2, it’s great as leftovers.
Ingredients (for the veggie portion):
- 1-2 medium zucchini, chopped
- 1 medium yellow squash, chopped
- 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed of woody ends and cut into thirds lengthwise
- 1 medium onion, quartered and sliced in 1/4-1/2 inch wide slices
- 1-2 red bell peppers, seeds and ribs removed, cut into 1 inch chunks
- pat butter and 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- sea salt, pepper, granulated garlic, oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary, and savory (enough of the herbs for the veg to be obviously flecked with seasoning)
I start out by sauteing the onion and pepper together in the butter and olive oil until they are slightly softened. I then add all of the other veg, with seasoning, and continue cooking until they are tender but not mushy.
While I cook the veg, in another pan I boil a box of orzo pasta. When it’s al dente, I drain it and cook it for another few minutes in about 3/4 cups of chicken stock or broth, until it is mostly absorbed.
In addition to the veg and orzo, I like to add chicken. I cut up enough skinless, boneless chicken thighs for each person to have two thighs worth of meat. I cut the thighs into meatball size chunks and cook in the same seasoning, plus poultry seasoning, until cooked through.
When all of the components are finished, I combine all three in one pan and stir. It’s a big pot. If you can, let the mix simmer for a couple of minutes to meld the flavors.
What I love most about this is its one-pot feel. While it certainly isn’t cooked that way, it’s a complete meal in one dish, which is always appealing to me. It’s also fairly easy to cook. Most of the work is prepping the veg and that doesn’t take too long or much effort.
Last night I took a small step back into the kitchen after a couple of days off. Dad barbecued pork chops and I made some oven roasted asparagus. This particular goodie is courtesy of the one cooking class I’ve taken. A few years ago during my first summer in Oregon, I took a three-day cooking course at Sur La Table in downtown Portland (conveniently across the street from Powell’s City of Books!) as a birthday present.
It was billed as a knife skill course, which I am sure I gained something in, but really I was exposed to great food and got to meet Gina Bellman (Leverage and Coupling). In it, we made everything from poached sea bass with orange sauce to crème brûlée to this asparagus dish, albeit in a different form. Originally, the asparagus was roasted in the oven with cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced shallot, and mozzarella. Can you guess why I changed it? Most of the time I cook it now, it’s the asparagus on its own. Occasionally I make the effort of slicing the shallots and placing them on top of the spears. It’s been quite a while since I involved tomatoes, but the more I think about it, I want them to make an appearance the next time I make this.
For those of you interested, I take a bundle of asparagus, trim them of their harder ends and roll them in a little extra virgin olive oil. I season them with salt, pepper, granulated garlic, and Italian herb seasoning. They roast at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, more or less depending on the spear thickness. I also turn them and move them around about half way through so that they evenly cook. When I add the shallot, I slice them about 1/4 inch thick and place them on top of the spears after a little seasoning, top them with their own small amount of oil and season it all up. The shallots on their own are pretty tasty. A bite of both is great. Try them out for yourself. What other flavors do you think would match well with this dish?