This combination of bitter greens, savory fennel, and rich buttery orzo is the perfect healthy and simple weeknight meal.
You only need 5 things to make this meal: chicken breasts, orzo, Dijon mustard a fennel bulb, and a head of escarole. That’s it. You know, besides the butter, oil, salt, and pepper, which you should probably have in your kitchen anyway. Unless you’re a bachelor guy, apparently. Before I moved in, Dan never kept butter in the house!
Simply sauteed chicken breasts create a base for nutty, buttery orzo with sauteed fennel with Dijon topped with a salad of escarole with (you guessed it) more fennel. If you don’t like the bitterness of escarole, switch it out for spinach or another hearty green.
Fennel (also called anise) is one of the most underrated, sneaky ingredients that can pack lots of flavor with little effort. The woman who checked me out at the grocery store said, “Wow, I haven’t seen one of these in forever!” It’s a funny looking plant (technically a perennial herb in the parsley family) with a bitter white bulb and zesty fronds with a slight licorice flavor. The whole plant is edible.
Orzo is my go-to side dish when I’m serving a new or super flavorful entree. It cooks quickly with is good warm and chilled. It’s easy to add bits and pieces of the main dish and transform the orzo into a spectacular addition to the meal. Plus, you can toast it in the pan before adding the liquid and give it a nice nutty flavor, too. It’s pretty much a blank canvas and the bomb. At the same time.