Simple pleasures

Orzo I Thought

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And the nights are drawing in. Summer’s almost gone, before we know it we shall be wearing makeup and knocking on neighbours doors demanding sweets. Even if you don’t have children, this is great fun. I’d even suggest doing it mid-July if you fancy a laugh.

But before then, it’s my favourite time of year. The leaves turn gold and orange, the crisp, blue mornings with their low sun skies turn the walk to school into a show of colour and misty breath, wrapped up against the coming winter. It’s the time to eat comforting food that’s not quite long slow-braised beef shin stews, thick, rich and brown, but bridges the seasons.

Cooking the pasta in the pan with everything else gives it real depth and reminds me of some of the meal in a bowl soups my mum used to make for us. There’s so much going on, but really takes very little effort to make. Fresh bay leaves from the tree make the difference here, but use dried if you must. And don’t bother doing your own peppers, just buy a good jar of them. There are some things that just aren’t worth the fuss.

Ingredients for four
4 skin on chicken supremes
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 red onion, cut into wedges
1tbsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 jar of roast red peppers, drained
A handful of good black olives
250g orzo
1tsp bouillon powder
Boiling water to cover
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to season

Heat some oil in a large, lidded, heavy and shallow pan. Fry the chicken, seasoned, skin-side down until golden then turn and cook for a couple of minutes.
Add the garlic and onions and cook for a minute longer.
Throw in the peppers, olives, bay, bouillon, and orzo then just cover with boiling water. Sprinkle over the oregano and cover with the lid.
Cook gently for about ten minutes, until the orzo is soft, but with a little bite.
Serve from the pan at the table.

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