Orzo "Chicken Fried Rice"
I love transforming leftovers into a completely different dish and fried rice is one of my go-tos. If you have a handle on the basics, you can make fried rice a lot of different ways. All you need is a smoking hot pan, all your ingredients ready to go, and quick movements.
I had made a herby roast chicken the previous evening (it was amazing, oh my God. I will share the recipe soon) and had one leftover chicken thigh from the dish. The sage and mint herb flavor of the roast chicken was not amenable to a classic Asian fried rice so I thought to make an sort of Italian fried rice, with orzo. With an Asian fried rice, the base is always scallions, ginger, and garlic - with something Italian, it made sense to use anchovies and garlic. I spiced it with a red pepper flakes and finished it with some lemon juice. And of course, a humble fried egg for a little bit of extra richness. It was so satisfying and came together in about 15 minutes.
1/4 cup dry orzo
2-3 large mushrooms
1 cup baby spinach leaves
1 clove garlic
2 anchovy fillets
1 tbsp olive oil, divided into 1 and 2 tsps
1 tsp red pepper flakes or to taste
Juice from 1/4 of a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
roasted or rotisserie chicken
fried egg, optional
Cook the orzo. Bring a pot of salted water to boil and once boiling, cook the orzo for 8-10 minutes. Drain the orzo and run under cold water to stop the cooking; set aside. Prepare the other ingredients. Slice the mushrooms thinly, shred the chicken, mince the garlic clove, and lay out the other ingredients.
Heat a stainless steel or cast iron pan until very hot, over medium-high heat. Add 2 tsp of olive oil and once almost smoking, add in the anchovies. Cook for 10-20 seconds and add the mushrooms next. Toss the mushrooms well and sear for 8-10 minutes or until browned. Next, add in the garlic clove, red pepper flakes, and shredded chicken and toss well. If the mixture starts to stick, add in a tablespoon of water (or broth or white wine) and loosen up the mixture.
Add in the orzo and the additional tsp of olive oil and season with salt. Mix well and turn off the heat. Add in the spinach leaves and mix well until the leaves have wilted. Squeeze in a quarter of a lemon juice.
If desired, fry up an egg and top your bowl. Devour!