Love this delicious dish that is full of fresh tomato flavor and a greek flair. The marinated feta adds hints of mellow herbs to the dish and tempers the flavor of the cheese. When you look for Feta, definitely seek out the brands that are marinating in brine or your feta may be dry and very crumbly. I know in this area, Trader Joe’s carries some authentic Greek feta, as well as Costco. Alternatively, you can always find good feta at a specialty market for greek and mediterranean foods. If you are not wanting to grill the chicken, you can easily bake it, using the same marinade. I often use buttermilk or greek yogurt when marinating chicken breasts as it helps to tenderize the chicken breasts which can be quite dry. The longer you are able to marinate the chicken, the more tender the chicken will be. serve this with a delicious green salad for a delicious dinner.
- 4 chicken breasts, skinless, boneless (about 1 1/2 lbs)
- 1 cup buttermilk (substitute 1 cup greek yogurt)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons favorite greek seasoning
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- kosher salt and pepper
for marinated feta:
- 4 oz good quality feta, in block
- 3 tablespoons good quality olive oil
- 3 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 tablespoons freshly chopped oregano
- freshly cracked pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 1/2 cups orzo
- 1 1/2 pounds halved, heirloom cherry tomatoes, or red ones, plus extra tomatoes for garnish
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups (about) vegetable stock
- 1 bunch basil, chiffonade, plus more for garnish
- fresh oregano, optional for garnish
- Olive oil for drizzling
- crushed red pepper
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
for chicken: Season chicken with salt and pepper and other seasonings. Place in a ziplock bag and add buttermilk and olive oil and distribute well to coat chicken. Let chicken marinate for several hours or up to overnight. Heat chicken and grill at 375 for about 12 minutes a side, or until internal temperature is 160. Alternatively, preheat oven to 375, add a bit of extra oil to chicken and bake for about 45 minutes. Allow chicken to rest covered for 10 minutes before slicing.
for marinated feta: Before preparing orzo, place feta in a small bowl and drizzle with olive oil and seasonings. Turn a couple of times once to coat with seasonings and oil allowing it to marinate.
for orzo: In a heavy bottom skillet (I love my enamel skillet for this dish), melt butter on medium heat. Add tomatoes and garlic and stir to combine until tomatoes begin to break down, but still retain some of their shape and season with salt and pepper (About 5 minutes). Add orzo to the skillet and continue stirring so dried orzo can absorb the juices, Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes until orzo is cooked. You may have to adjust the amount of broth by adding a bit of additional liquid to the orzo about halfway through, if you notice that the mixture is dry and sticking to the bottom (this will depend on how juicy your tomatoes are). Just before serving toss in basil, pine nuts and extra crushed red pepper for heat.
assemble dish: Take heaping spoonfuls of orzo and place on a plate or pasta bowl. Slice chicken breast alongside. Cut feta into small chunks and place on warm orzo. Just before serving, add a few fresh tomatoes on top. Garnish with additional basil, oregano and extra pine nuts as desired and drizzle a bit of additional olive oil on the dish. Enjoy!