I substituted orzo for the rice in this delicious paella-like dinner that has great flavor and is served right out of the skillet.  I do sear the shrimp separately as its cooking tmie is far shorter than the chicken and I find the flavor much better when seared rather than cooked in the pilaf.  I also add the peas at the very end which helps preserve their vibrant color. I add chopped cherry tomatoes at the end for some fresh flavor and color in each bite. You can make this dish ahead and keep it covered in a warming drawer for about an hour.  The warming drawer or a very low heated oven is a wonderful asset for a busy family.

Serves 4


  • 12 chicken drumettes
  • 12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 lb chorizo, skin removed
  • 1 1/2 cup orzo
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 large leek, finely chopped (white and light green parts)
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups peas, thawed
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon old bay seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (I used san Marzano)
  • parsley sprigs for garnish


Preheat oven to 350.  Pat chicken drummers dry with a paper towel to eliminate any excess moisture.  Season generously with salt and pepper.  Heat a large cast iron, paella  or heavy bottom skillet on medium high with a table spoon of oil.  Add chorizo to pan and brown sausage for a few minutes breaking up as it cooks.  With a slotted spoon, remove chorizo and set aside on a paper towel lined plate.  Add an additional tablespoon of oil and place prepared drumettes in pan.  Cook for about 4 minutes a side, turning to make sure exterior is seared and golden on all sides and interior is beginning to cook as well.  This should take about 12 minutes.  Remove chicken from pan and place on a baking sheet and allow to continue to stay warm and continue to cook in heated oven.  Reduce heat to medium low and another tablespoon of olive oil along with  leeks, onion and garlic to skillet.  Season with salt and pepper.  Sauté on this low heat for several minutes allowing vegetables to become tender and fragrant (several minutes).   Add orzo and turn heat to high coating orzo with vegetables, allowing it to absorb all the flavor base (2 minutes).  Pour stock in measuring cup and take saffron threads between your fingers and add to stock, stirring gently to distribute.  Add liquid to orzo, it will begin to bubble.  Mix in reserved chorizo, and place chicken drummettes back into skillet, gently nestled in orzo mixture.  Place entire skillet back in oven for about 30-40 minutes until orzo has absorbed stock and   chicken is cooked through.  In a separate medium skillet, heat an additional tablespoon of oil, light dust shrimp with flour and season each side with Old Bay.  Sear shrimp in skillet for 2-3 minutes a side.  Transfer shrimp and peas into orzo skillet during last 5 minutes of cooking.  Remove from oven and allow paella to sit for 5 -10 minutes.  Just before serving, garnish with parsley and fresh diced tomato and gently fluff orzo pilaf with a fork.  Enjoy!