Chicken + Shrimp Orzo Paella by Rattaya Nagorski

This was one of those dishes that I didn't know if I simply didn't like orzo, or I cooked it wrong. But I definitely did not enjoy this dish, even to where I didn't even eat half a serving. I felt like there was something off, but I couldn't put my finger on it. It was easy to make, however, and pretty to look at. Any paella would be pretty to look at, but the right set of flavors could be difficult.

Ckn Shr Orzo Paella 1.JPG

Typical paellas would be made with rice, but this recipe called for orzo, so I tried it. No, not a fan of orzo, and it didn't go well with the rest of the dish. Too bad! From the magazine Clean Eating (April 2015), this paella was a miss in our kitchen. SO why even post it for someone to try the recipe? Mainly because I think orzo just wasn't my cup of tea, and someone else would enjoy it. Sorry for the negativity!


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp each sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 4 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups whole-grain orzo
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • Pinch saffron
  • 2 tsp lemon zest and 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for garnish
  • 12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined (tails on)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves


  1. In a large deep skillet on medium-high, heat oil. Season chicken with paprika, oregano, salt and black pepper. Cook chicken, turning frequently, until browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm. To skillet, add onions, garlic and bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened and onions are translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and orzo, stirring to combine. Add broth and saffron to loosen orzo from bottom of pan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low. 
  2. Return chicken to pan along with any accumulated juices. Add lemon zest and juice and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until chicken is no longer pink inside and orzo is tender, 7 to 9 minutes. 
  3. Stir in shrimp and cook just until they turn pink and are opaque throughout, about 2 to 3 minutes more. Divide among serving plates and garnish with parsley. Serve with lemon wedges.