Chicken in a Pot with Lemon and Orzo

Here is happiness in a pot!

1 chicken (approx. 4 lbs.)
3 fat cloves garlic, peeled
2 medium carrots
2 medium leeks
1 tbs. olive oil
2 lemons
2 tsp. dried tarragon or thyme
2 tsp. sea salt flakes
1/2 tsp. dried chili flakes
6 1/3 liters cold water
1 cup orzo
6 tbs. finely chopped flat leaf parsley
fresh grated Parmesan, to serve

If time permits, allow the chicken to sit on a cutting board for abut 40 minutes before cooking, then season well. Peel the carrots and cut them into 3 lengths, then into batons. Cut the leeks into 2″ rounds. Heat the oven to 350°F .Heat the oil in a heavy Dutch Oven and add the chicken, breast-side down. Brown over a high heat for 3-5 minutes then turn breast-side up.

Take the pan off the heat and grate the garlic and lemon zest around the chicken. Add the tarragon or thyme and give it all a stir in the oil. Scatter in the vegetables, followed by the salt and chili flakes then squeeze in the juice from the lemons.

Pour in the cold water and bring to a boil. Clamp on a lid and transfer to the oven for 1 1/2 hours. Take the pot out of the oven and sprinkle in the orzo, pushing it under the liquid and give everything a stir. Cook for another 15 minutes, by which time the orzo should be plump and tender.

Let the pot stand uncovered for 15 minutes, then stir in 4 tbs. of the parsley. Using 2 forks, gently pull the chicken away from the bones and discard them. Stir everything again and ladle into warm bowls. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley and the Parmesan.

Serves 4-6

Pasta Risotto with Peas and Pancetta

Heavenly to make and to eat!

2 tbs. garlic-infused olive oil
6 oz. cubed pancetta
1 1/4 cups frozen peas
8 oz. orso pasta
2 1/2 cups boiling water
salt, to taste
1 tbs. soft butter
2 tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
grated black pepper, to taste

Warm the oil in a heavy saucepan. Add the pancetta and cook until crisp and bronze, then stir in the peas for a minute or two until the frozen look leaves them.

Add the pasta and stir for a bit, then add the boiling water and season with salt. Turn  down to a simmer and let it bubble for 10 minutes, until the pasta is tender and the water absorbed.

To serve, toss with the soft butter, Parmesan and sprinkle with black pepper.

Serves 2