Greek Meatballs with Lemon Butter Orzo and Whipped Feta

Posted at 10:02 AM, Jan 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-21 12:19:59-05

For the Meatballs:

  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1 lg. egg
  • ½ c. panko bread crumbs
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper

For the Whipped Feta:

  • 8 oz. feta cheese
  • ¼ c. plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

For the Orzo:

  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 lemon, sliced into 1/8 in. rounds
  • 1 tsp. garlic minced
  • 1 c. dry orzo pasta
  • 2 ½ c. chicken broth
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ c. pitted green olives, sliced
  • 2 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped or ( 1 tbsp. dried dill)
  • ½ c. oil packed sundried tomatoes, chopped, reserve the oil
  • 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • chopped fresh herbs for garnish

Make the meatballs by mixing the eggs, bread crumbs, shallot, garlic, oregano, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl. Add in the ground chicken and mix until just combined. Roll the mixture into tbsp. sized meatballs.

Heat a large skillet or dutch oven over med-high heat. Add about 2 tbsp. of olive oil to the pan. When the oil is heated add the meatballs and cook 3-4 minutes per side with a total cooking time of 8-10 minutes. Remove the meatballs from the pan and let them rest on a plate.

To the same pan, add another tbsp. of olive oil and the butter. Once the butter is melted add the lemon slices and cook about 1 minute per side. Remove the lemons and place them with the meatballs. Add the garlic and orzo pasta to the same pan and cook and stir for 3-4 minutes or until the pasta starts to toast. Add the chicken broth and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Cook for 7-8 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.

As the pasta cooks, make a vinaigrette by whisking together the sundried tomatoes plus reserved oil, with 3 tbsp. of balsamic vinegar. Set aside.

As the pasta cooks, make the whipped feta by combining the feta cheese, yogurt, and olive oil in a food processor until smooth.

When the orzo is done, stir in the green olives and dill. Return the meatballs to the pan and stir to rewarm the meatballs.

To serve, spread the feta on a plate. Add some meatballs, orzo, seared lemons, and then drizzle with some of the vinaigrette and fresh herbs.