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Chickpeas with Orzo

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traditional Greek chickpeas and orzo

This dish is a favorite of our mom’s side of the family. Every one of the six siblings enjoyed it and made it regularly and now you can too 🙂

Chickpeas and orzo is a very traditional Greek meal, very filling and very delicately flavored. The secret to it’s creamy, ‘buttery’ goodness is to cook the orzo and canned chickpeas right into the dish, not separately and then added in to the rest of the ingredients as you might find in other variations of this recipe.  By ‘stewing’ both the orzo and the chickpeas together with the veggies and broth as the dish cooks you get plump, perfect orzo and tender, meaty chickpeas. You can’t beat it!

Marjoram is used here instead of oregano for a change. Being less bitter than oregano, marjoram complements the sweetness of the carrots and onions while still bringing an earthy balance to the flavors. Oh, and a good splash of white wine is important too – the acidity of the wine just amplifies the subtle beauty of the flavors so do try to include it! Thyme sprigs, or dried thyme if you don’t have fresh – but fresh is much more preferable, add a light, brightness and a good vegetable broth brings the whole dish together.

peel carrots and chop into small dice

I use 1, 15 ounce can of chickpeas here but feel free to as much as double up on that amount if you love chickpeas. Depending on who I am making this for, I’ve used the large can size which I believe is 29 ounces? and that’s worked out just fine.  Remember to drain them first and use a good quality brand, organic if you can. The last thing you want are sub-par peas!

A 3 quart sauce pan just fits this recipe and make sure to have a cover on hand, even if it’s just a cut piece of aluminum foil, to use once you remove the pan from the heat. It’s key to allow the chickpeas and orzo to rest, covered for at least 10 minutes once you take it off the heat.

Wonderful right from the stove and just as nice the next day for lunch – ok, it’s also great right out of the fridge! you’ll find this simple, delicious meal is amazing anytime 🙂

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped carrots (2-3 large carrots, peeled)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp dried marjoram
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme (leaves of 4-6 good sprigs) or 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 2 cups orzo (uncooked)
  • 1 can chickpeas (drained, 15 oz can)
  • 6 cups good quality vegetable broth

Chop carrots and onions into small dice and sauté in olive oil for approx 5 minutes on low/medium heat. Add salt, pepper, marjoram and thyme sprigs and stir to combine. Add in white wine and then uncooked orzo. Stir to combine and cook on low heat for 5 minutes.

Add drained chickpeas and vegetable broth, stir to combine. Bring to a boil, this might take 5 minutes or a bit more. Reduce to a good simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Stir twice while cooking to keep orzo from sticking to bottom of the pan. Gently nudge any that might be sticking, they’ll come right up!

Remove pan from heat and cover. Allow chickpeas and orzo to sit, covered, for 10 minutes before serving. Liquid should be almost fully absorbed. Fluff with fork and serve with crusty bread and a wedge of lemon.

Serves 6-8 well and leftovers keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 3-4 days.

chickpeas and orzo keep well, covered and refrigerated, for 3-4 days

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4 Responses to Chickpeas with Orzo

  1. Dana December 22, 2016 at 7:57 am #

    When do you add the white wine?

    • Kiki December 27, 2016 at 6:02 pm #

      ahhh! thanks for catching that! right after the herbs/spices and right before the orzo – see above 🙂

  2. V* March 22, 2017 at 2:03 am #

    Never heard term ‘orzo’ used in this part of the world – is it the small pasta that looks like uncooked rice? Italians (here, anyway) call it ‘risoni’. I can never remember the Greek name for it, but it begins with ‘K’.

    Cheers

    • Kiki March 22, 2017 at 9:38 pm #

      in Greek, orzo is known as kritharaki (κριθαράκι) 🙂

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