Recipe Review

Ina Garten’s Chicken in a Pot with Orzo Is the Best, Bougiest Chicken Noodle Soup Ever

published Nov 11, 2022
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Credit: Nicole Rufus

Now that the weather has cooled off and fall is in full swing, my bank account is begging me to cool off from my carefree (read: irresponsible) spending habits of summer. A large part of this means limiting how often I dine out, and inviting friends over for dinner instead. When I saw Ina Garten post her recipe for chicken in a pot with orzo (from her new book Go-To Dinners) on Instagram, I knew immediately that it would be the perfect dish to serve for a cozy evening indoors.

Every Tuesday, a group of friends and I, affectionately referred to as the Bachelor Nation Babes, assemble to watch whichever show from The Bachelor franchise happens to be on at the moment (we’re currently watching Bachelor in Paradise, in case you were wondering). These Tuesday nights have turned into one of the highlights of my week. We gather at one of our apartments to eat dinner, drink wine, and engage in a lot of slightly risqué commentary.

Last week it was my turn to host, and I decided that Justin’s return to Paradise to win Eliza over from Rodney was television worthy enough of Ina’s delicious-looking chicken and orzo. My friends and I have a lot of opinions — emphasis on a lot — and I knew this group would give their most honest thoughts about the dish. Here’s what the Bachelor Nation Babes had to say.

Credit: Nicole Rufus

How to Make Ina’s Chicken in a Pot with Orzo

You start by preheating the oven to 350°F. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven large enough to fit all the ingredients. Pat the entire chicken dry with paper towels, then place the bird breast-side down into the pot, letting it sear until the skin has browned. Turn the chicken over and repeat on the other side, then remove the chicken and place it on a plate.

Next you’ll add the fennel, carrots, leeks, and celery and sauté them until they start to brown. Add in the minced garlic and cook for just about a minute or so. Place the chicken back in the Dutch oven, add the saffron, as well enough chicken stock and water to cover the chicken until only roughly an inch of the breastbone is exposed. Tie thyme, parsley, and dill together in a bouquet garni and stir it in with salt and black pepper. Bring everything to a boil and then place covered in the oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Take the chicken out of the oven and remove the bouquet garni. Stir in the orzo and cover the Dutch oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until the orzo is tender. Remove the lid and break the chicken down to into quarters, using a fork to carefully tear the meat away from the breastbone. Reheat if necessary and then serve in large, shallow bowls.

Credit: Nicole Rufus

The Bachelor Nation Babes’ Honest Review of Ina Garten’s Chicken with Orzo in a Pot

This recipe received a resounding 10/10 from my watch group. It happened to be a chilly night, so the timing was perfect. The food was still cooking when my friends started to arrive, but one by one they commented on the mouth-watering smell of the chicken emanating from the oven. We popped open a bottle of wine, hit play on the ever-unfolding saga that is Bachelor in Paradise, and eagerly waited for the food to be ready.

While it’s a dish that sounds so simple and unassuming, it packs an incredible amount of flavor. The saffron, in particular, just elevates the flavor profile instantly. Our overwhelming consensus as a group was that Ina’s chicken in a pot with orzo is a very bougie chicken noodle soup — in the best, most delicious way.

Talk about an elevated play on a classic! The orzo feels a bit more sophisticated than your typical noodles, the whole chicken imparts a ton of delicious flavor, and saffron makes it feel kinda fancy. However, Ina’s dish is still just as cozy and comforting as a classic bowl of chicken noodle soup. The Bachelor Nation Babes give this one two thumbs way up.

Credit: Nicole Rufus

If You’re Making Ina’s Chicken in a Pot with Orzo, a Few Tips

  • Halve the veggies. As is, Ina’s recipe calls for two cups of diced carrots, two cups of diced celery, two cups of chopped leeks, and two cups of chopped fennel. While I appreciate the flavor that those veggies impart into the broth, I simply do not own a Dutch oven large enough for all of those veggies, the whole chicken, the orzo, and the broth! So I did a cup of each vegetable, and it was plenty.
  • Add the orzo earlier in the process. I understood the logic behind letting the orzo cook in the broth, covered and without any heat, but I wondered if that might just be prolonging the cook time unnecessarily. After an hour in the oven, I stirred the orzo in with the chicken and cooked everything together in the oven for the remaining 15 minutes. Then I let it sit covered on the stove for 5 minutes and voila! Both the orzo and chicken were perfectly cooked. Save yourself an extra 10 to 15 minutes this way.
  • Just use stock. The recipe calls for 4 cups of chicken stock, but you may occasionally need to add more liquid as the chicken is cooking. If that happens, I always opt to use more stock instead of adding water, as I don’t want to risk diluting the flavor of the dish.