This dish is the epitome of comfort food, orzo they say

Creamy leek and Dijon orzo with chicken: A real family favourite

Orzo, the rice-shaped pasta, has always been high on my list of comfort foods. It has such a pleasing texture and shape. It’s also known as risoni, meaning large grains of rice. All it needs really is a little good grassy olive oil, some black pepper and parsley, or Parmesan, depending on how healthy you’re feeling. I add both.

Just like rice, it’s ideal for serving with sauces, stews and in soups. It can also be made into the risotto-style dish, orzotto. I love it with beef stifado, and make it whenever I can get my hands on some baby onions. Stifado is an ideal recipe for making in the slow cooker as it benefits from low, slow cooking. The rich Greek stew is gently scented with cinnamon, the sauce is thick and luscious, the slow cooked beef is tender and falls apart at the touch of a fork. All it needs is some simple orzo on the side.

I love leeks at this time of year. I'd prefer a bunch of leeks over flowers any day as they're so versatile and can be made into so many things. Their allium sweetness is just perfect with Dijon mustard. In this recipe, they balance each other out nicely, along with a little acidity from the yoghurt. I use a thick Greek-style yoghurt from Glenisk here. It does contain cream, so it's really ideal for this. You could also use crème fraîche, or thick cream and a squeeze of lemon juice.

I’ve used chicken here as it’s such a classic pairing with the creamy thyme-kissed sauce. You could, of course, serve the orzo on its own with a big green salad, as the Parmesan makes it so rich. This is a fantastic side dish to a roast chicken too, or served with sautéed kale or spinach.


I often make a version of this dish and add a handful of leftover roast chicken, cherry tomatoes that burst as it simmers, and baby spinach added at the last minute. It’s more colourful and has extra vegetables. The leeks simply melt away into the background in the creamy sauce. A real family favourite.

Recipe: Creamy leek and Dijon orzo with chicken