Here’s a summery, light take on the traditional Greek dish Youvetsi (lamb baked in a tomato sauce with orzo). I’ve taken some chicken thighs (the skin of which I removed to keep things light), seasoned them with a sprinkling of Sweet Smoked Paprika, salt and freshly ground pepper and simmered them with fresh bell pepper, onion, garlic and a juicy red tomato. A healthy dose of fresh parsley livens it all up and creamy orzocooked directly in the tomato sauce tops off this healthy dish. Try this and I promise you that in no time at all you’ll have a delicious meal that you can easily enjoy al fresco on a warm summer night.
For a cold-weather version of Youvetsi, check out my recipe here.
Summer Youvetsi — Καλοκαιρινό Γιουβέτσι
Serves 4 to 6
4 to 6 chicken thighs, skins removed
Sweet smoked paprika
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large red/orange pepper, diced
1 large tomato, peeled and diced
Handful of parsley, finely chopped
1 cup orzo
2 1/2 cups water
Rinse chicken thighs under cold water and trim any excess fat. Pat dry with a paper towel, then season with a sprinkling of sweet smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown chicken on both sides until golden. Once the chicken is browned, add the onion, garlic and bell pepper to the skillet and cook until softened, 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in the diced tomatoes and parsley, bring to a simmer (reduce heat slightly), cover skillet and cook for 10 to 15 minutes longer (add a bit of water as necessary to increase liquid in skillet).
Using a slotted spoon, remove chicken thighs to a plate along with a few tablespoons of the sauce. Add the orzo to the skillet along with the 2 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the orzo is cooked through. Once done, add the chicken back to the skillet and heat through. Serve with a sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley.