Spring Leeks, Eggplant, Chicken and Orzo Salad: Seasonal Chef Recipe

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This one pan dinner with spring leeks is on the table in under 30 minutes. With the addition of the Penzey’s Arizona Dreaming spice blend you have a delicious dinner that is perfect hot or room temperature. Click this link to to read my post about Spring Leeks this week!

Spring Leek, Eggplant, Chicken and Orzo Salad: Seasonal Chef Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Spring leeks have a mild flavor and can be eaten raw or sautéed. The next time you see them at the farmers market pick up a bunch and try them. You won't be sorry!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry orzo
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Arizona Dreaming Spice Blend, from Penzey’s.
  • 3-4 spring leeks, white and pale green parts sliced thin, about 1 ½ cups
  • 1 small eggplant, sliced 2” thick
  • 1 lb chicken tenders, cut in 2" pieces
  • ½ lemon juiced, plus more to taste
  • ¼ fresh basil, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Cook the orzo according to the package instructions, just to al dente. Drain and set in a large bowl. Toss with a little oil and 1 teaspoon of Arizona Dreaming.
  2. Place the leeks in a strainer and rinse thoroughly and pat dry with a paper towel.
  3. In medium sauté pan medium heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat and add the leeks with ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. and 2 tablespoons of oil. Cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove and place in the bowl with the orzo. Toss to blend.
  4. While the leeks are cooking season the chicken and eggplant with a little oil, salt, pepper and Arizona Dreaming spice. Cook the eggplant in the pan after the leeks, browning on both sides. Remove and set on a cutting board. Cool slightly and cut in to 2” pieces
  5. Add the chicken and cook, browning on all sides, about 5-8 minutes.
  6. Add the eggplant and chicken to the bowl and toss to combine, tasting to check on the seasoning.
  7. Just before serving add the fresh lemon juice and basil. Toss to combine.
  8. This may be served hot or room temperature

Notes

Arizona Dreaming is one of my favorite Penzey blends. It's a conbination of ancho and chipotle chills with onion, garlic, lemon and cocoa. The over all flavor is smokey. If you don't have it on hand try a combination of medium chili powder, smoked paprika, lemon zest and a touch of cocoa.

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About Author

Seasonal Chef blogger Maria Reina comes to the world of food as a third career, spending a great portion of her adult life in the field of Human Resources. With her private company Bella Cucina Maria she is a personal chef, caterer and recreational cooking class teacher in Westchester. She's an avid food television watcher and cookbook collector, always looking for a new take on a traditional dish. In her free time she loves hanging out at local farmer's markets, chatting it up with the farmers and doing cooking demos with their seasonal ingredients. In addition to her blog, which is loaded with easy recipes, you can follow her on Facebook (Bella Cucina Maria), Twitter (Bellacucinam), Instagram (Bellacucinam) and Pinterest (Bellacucinam).

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