RECIPE: Chicken in a with pot with lemon and orzo (Nigella Lawson)


1 x whole chicken (1.5 kg or bigger)

Olive oil

Zest and juice of 2 lemons

3 fat cloves of garlic (peeled and minced)

3 x medium carrots – peeled and cut into thickish slices

2 x medium leeks – rinsed and sliced

2 teaspoons of Maldon salt or 1 tsp of running salt

½ teaspoon red chili flakes

2 teaspoons dried tarragon

1 ½ litres cold water in a measuring jug

300g orzo pasta

1 bunch flat leaf parsley

Oven at 180 degrees



  • Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy based pot that’s big enough for the chicken with some space for the veggies, but not too big.
  • Brown the chicken, on a highish heat, breast side down first for a few minutes, until golden, and then using tongs, turn the chicken over onto each side and and do the underneath too, so its all lovely on all sides. Using tongs with help protect your hands from the hot fat.
  • Take the pot off the heat, and add the garlic and lemon zest around the chicken and give it a quick stir in the oil.
  • Scatter the vegetables around the chicken, and follow with the salt, chili flakes and tarragon.
  • Add a litre of the cold water around the chicken and wait for it to come up around the chicken, and then add the balance and the lemon juice so the water comes up to almost the top of the chicken leg.
  • Turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Push the veggies down once boiling and take off the heat. Put the lid on the pot.
  • Put the pot in the preheated oven for 1hour 15 minutes (set a timer!)
  • Take the pot out of the oven and stir in the orzo pasta around the chicken and make sure its all covered by the liquid.
  • Put it back in the oven with the lid on and time another 30 minutes, by which time the orzo will be swollen and soft.
  • Let it stand for 15 minutes, and give the orzo a bit of a stir to loosen the bits from the side of the pot. The orzo will continue to soak up the broth in the pot.
  • Stir in 4 to 6 tablespoons of the chopped parsley – add more if you like – it’s a delicious addition.
  • Serve straight from the pot, the chicken will be falling off the bone and easy to serve with a spoon.
  • If you like, add grated parmesan to finish off.

Adapted from Nigella Lawson Cook Eat Repeat.

June 2021.