The Pioneer Woman Tasty Kitchen
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Grilled Chicken and Lemon Orzo Salad

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Level: Easy

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Description

The perfect summer picnic salad!

From Brenda Score of A Farmgirl’s Dabbles.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Orzo
  • 2-½ Tablespoons Olive Oil, Divided
  • 1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
  • ½ cups Small Diced Red Onion
  • 1 clove (Large) Garlic, Minced
  • 1 pound Chicken Breasts
  • 1-½ teaspoon Kosher Salt, Divided
  • ¼ teaspoons Freshly Ground Black Pepper, Divided
  • 2  Lemons Cut In Half
  • ½ teaspoons Honey
  • ½ cups Small Diced Red Bell Pepper
  • 6 ounces, weight Pea Pods, Sliced In Half On The Diagonal
  • 2  Green Onions, Thinly Sliced On The Diagonal
  • 1 Tablespoon Chopped Dill
  • 2 ounces, weight Goat Cheese, Crumbled (optional)

Preparation

Cook orzo in salted water according to package directions, until al dente. Drain in colander and run cold water over to cool. Drain again. Add orzo to large bowl and drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over the orzo. Fold to combine.

While orzo is cooking, heat medium skillet over medium heat. Add butter and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Once butter and olive oil are warmed, add red onion and garlic, stirring to incorporate. Sauté until softened, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Once cooled, fold into orzo.

Rub remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil over chicken breasts and then season with 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper. Heat grill to medium to medium-high heat. Make sure grates are scrubbed clean and then oiled. (To oil the grates, add some vegetable oil to a small bowl. Then fold a heavy paper towel a few times to make a smaller square. With a tongs, grasp the folded paper towel and dip it into the oil until the paper towel is drenched. Then run the paper towel over the grates, repeating until all grill grates are thoroughly oiled.) 

Place cut sides of lemon halves on grill for just a minute or two, until charred and softened. Remove to a plate to cool. Oil grill grates again and place chicken breasts on the grates. Grill for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until nicely charred. Flip chicken and grill for another 3 to 4 minutes on the second side, until nicely charred and an instant read thermometer reaches 160°F. Grilling time will depend on size of individual chicken breasts, so this may take more or less time. Then pull the chicken off the grill, to a platter, to rest for a few minutes and continue to cook to 165°F. This will help to ensure that your chicken doesn’t dry out from over cooking it. Let cool and then use two forks to shred into bite-size pieces.

In a small bowl, whisk zest and juice from two of the grilled lemon halves (including the charred pulp), honey, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper. Drizzle over orzo and fold to combine.

Add shredded chicken, red pepper, pea pods, green onion, and dill. Fold to combine. Add goat cheese, if desired, and then fold again. Transfer to serving bowl or platter. Sprinkle with additional freshly ground black pepper and a bit more chopped dill, if desired. Offer remaining two grilled lemon halves for squeezing over the top of individual portions.

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