The wonderful thing about Spring is the abundance of tasty green things from the garden. I planted English peas this year, but not nearly enough. So, instead of having a bowlful of creamed peas, I have just enough to enhance something else. Tonight it’s herb risotto with english peas. There’s also chicken marinating, covered in fresh chopped oregano and garlic, with lemon peel and olive oil, and a tasty salad of fresh lettuces, just picked. I’ll make a lemon dressing to go on that. Here’s how:
Greek-ish grilled chicken thighs
Chicken thighs (8 or so?), skinned
a good handful of chopped fresh oregano
a couple of spoonfuls of minced garlic
some black pepper
the peel/zest of 2 lemons
some olive oil
the juice from the zested lemons
Put the thighs in a dish or on a pan with a lip
Sprinkle generously with all the chopped up stuff/zest/etc.
Drizzle with olive oil and squirt the lemon juice all over it.
Let sit and grill over a low heat until done (say, 30 minutes or more). Turn a time or two while grilling. Brush with the stuff from the pan now and then.
I reckon you could even bake this if you wanted to, I’d say 325degrees for an hour or so, but check the chicken to be sure it’s done.
1 cup short grain (or arborio) rice (a bit on that later)
1/2 cup orzo pasta (guess what! you’re making homemade rice-a-roni!)
some olive oil
Put the olive oil in a deep skillet that has a lid. Turn on the heat to medium and add the rice and orzo. Stirring often, cook until the pasta starts turning brown. (When it’s golden brown, you can turn off the heat and go do something else for a while, or keep following the directions.)
Add to the rice/pasta:
1 cup of white wine
cook until the wine has soaked in and evaporated.
Then add, 1 cup at a time until completely soaked in,
3 cups HOT chicken broth. Make sure it has soaked in completely before adding the next cup, stir constantly!
Sometime in between the second and third cup of broth, stir:
3 cloves of garlic, minced fine
2 green onions, chopped fine, including tops
a good handful of fresh parsley, chopped
a smaller handful of fresh oregano, chopped
some black pepper
THEN after you’ve added all 3 cups of broth, and the rice isn’t quite done yet, stir a little bit longer and add
1/2 cup heavy cream
a handful of fresh or frozen english peas
Stir well, turn the heat either WAY down or off entirely (depending on how close to done the rice is) and put a lid on it until you’re ready to serve it.
You can also add a good handful of shredded parmesan cheese (or romano..whatever). You can make it lemony by using lemon juice instead of the white wine, or by adding lemon zest.
Now, about the rice. Regular long grain rice is fine to use, but you won’t get the creamy texture. It will taste the same. The shorter grain the rice, the creamier it will be. I have made this using long grain brown rice and it’s tasty but not creamy at all and takes way longer to cook. You might even want to not put in the pasta if you use brown rice, because the cooking times are radically different.
I love cooking in the spring because everything is really happy to be growing, and fresh. Stuff starts getting tired round about July and by August it’s just plain weary, and too hot to even consider cooking anything more exciting than peanut butter and pickle sandwiches.