Recipe: Chorizo Skewers With Spanish Orzo

Every cook needs a few flavor bombs in his or her kitchen, ingredients that can take a dish from tasteless to tasty with minimal time and effort. 

Salt is the most basic flavor bomb, even more useful now with the availability of various flavored, smoked, and sea salts. Artisan olive oil and real balsamic vinegar (not the caramel and sugar-tweaked stuff) are others. Garlic, smoked paprika, truffle paste, and fresh herbs from the garden are staples of my kitchen.  

And one more: chorizo.

Not the raw Mexican kind, which is more like Italian sausage with cojones, but the cured Spanish chorizo -- small, thin, porky links with a salami-like texture, zapped with pimenton and garlic.

Just a few slices can add a hauntingly smoky, dusky flavor to

everything from omelets and potatoes to stews, soups, and sautés. Even

better, they're dirt cheap -- two stubby links go for around $3 -- are easy

to find at local markets, require only reheating (since they're already

cured) and, until opened, don't need to be refrigerated. (All of which

also make them an excellent addition to your hurricane food stash.) 


of the simplest ways to enjoy chorizo's lusty charms is to skewer

slices with chunks of marinated chicken and grill, letting the molten

pork fat and pimenton do their flavor thing. This recipe is about as

easy to make as it is to eat, though not so easy to stop eating.

Grilled Chicken and Chorizo Skewers with Spanish Orzo

skewers: 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in one-inch cubes

small chorizo links, sliced quarter-inch thick
2 garlic cloves,

grated on microplaner or minced
1 T. fresh rosemary, finely chopped

of one lemon and a bit of lemon zest
1/3 C. olive oil
Salt and

pepper to taste 

For orzo: ½ C. uncooked orzo
1 large

tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 T. tomato paste
½ small

onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Handful of kalamata

olives, pitted and halved
1 zucchini cut in quarter-inch dice or

handful of peas or veg of choice
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to


At least six hours in advance or overnight, combine

garlic, rosemary, lemon juice and zest, olive oil, and salt and pepper

in plastic bag, add chicken cubes and mix well. Refrigerate until ready

to use. 

Soak skewers (if using wood) in water to keep them from


Saute onion and garlic in olive oil for a few

minutes, add tomato paste and veg, and sauté a couple of minutes more until

the paste caramelizes. Add chopped tomatoes, salt, and pepper and simmer

until it achieves sauce-like consistency. Add olives. 

Cook orzo

in boiling water until just al dente. Add to tomato mixture and

reserve. Skewer chicken and chorizo in alternating pieces. Discard


Grill or broil chicken over medium-high heat until

lightly charred and cooked through. Reheat orzo, giving it a few

vigorous stirs. Plate it all up and serve. Serves two.

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Bill Citara