This delicious harvest orzo skillet is a one-pot meal that really does have it all. Fall vegetables, juicy chicken thighs, and all of the fall flavors.
Easy Fall Skillet Recipe
Who doesn’t love a chicken thigh skillet? This meal has a few steps but it is all worth it. You cook everything in layers and then all together for one of the most flavorful fall meals you’ll ever eat.
Before you start
Read through the recipe before starting. This recipe has lots of different steps that could be missed.
If you use a skillet that is not cast iron, the cook times may vary slightly depending on what pan you use.
You can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs, but reduce the sear time to 2 minutes per side and be sure to check the internal temperature of the chicken when you are baking so that the thighs don’t over bake.
Do not add the cream when you add the broth or it may curdle.
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- Bone-in Chicken Thighs: we highly suggest using bone-in thighs.
- Butternut squash: you can buy pre-cut butternut squash or peel and cut a squash yourself.
- Red potatoes: keep it to red potatoes rather than another potato, they are softer and will cook in a similar way to butternut squash.
- Orzo: regular orzo or whole wheat orzo both work for this recipe.
- Broth: chicken broth is ideal for this recipe but any broth will do.
Directions: A Quick Look
- Prepare the chicken. Season the chicken thighs and let them sit. This will give your chicken thighs all the flavor and make them extra juicy.
- Prepare the veggies. Season and oil the veggies to add flavor and soften them up before the bake time.
- Make the pepitas. Candy the pepitas in maple syrup, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and salt. Sauté them in a skillet until brown and then pour them onto parchment paper to cool.
- Sauté everything. Brown the chicken thighs and cook the veggies down in the skillet. Toss the veggies, orzo, kale, and herbs in the skillet and set the chicken thighs on top of it all.
- Bake it all together. Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Let the skillet sit for 10 minutes to allow the orzo to absorb the rest of the liquid. Top the skillet with goat cheese and pepitas.
Don’t like spice? If you do not like spice, use less cayenne pepper in the pepitas.
Make sure to allow the root veggies to cook. Be sure to let the squash and potatoes cook in the skillet before adding the orzo. If you want your squash and potatoes soft, sauté them longer in step 10.
Be sure to use a pan with a cover. A skillet with a cover that fits will make this meal. If your pan doesn’t have a cover be sure to cover the pan with tin foil so air can’t escape.
Lemon Chicken Skillet
In the mood for another skillet? This lemon chicken skillet is another FFF favorite!
What if my orzo doesn’t cook all the way?
If the orzo isn’t cooked all the way, remove the chicken thighs from the skillet and add a ew tablespoons more of broth and cover the skillet and let it sit to allow the orzo to continue to cook.
Can I use a different type of squash in this recipe?
Yes, you can use acorn squash or delicata squash. The bake time may vary by squash.
Can I add more chicken thighs to this recipe?
We used 4 chicken thighs from this recipe but if you want to try and squeeze one or two more thighs, go for it. You may need to make more dry rub for the extra chicken thighs.
Let this dish cool completely and then store all of the ingredients in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Harvest Orzo Skillet
- 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ large yellow onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup white wine we used sauvignon blanc
- 1.25 cups uncooked orzo
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups chopped kale deboned and packed
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme destemed
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- 2 oz. goat cheese
- Prepare the chicken. Begin by salting the chicken thighs with kosher salt. Massage the salt into the chicken and place the chicken thighs into a bowl.
- Add the garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pepper and thyme to a separate bowl and whisk all of the ingredients together until combined. Pour the marinade over the chicken thighs and use your hands to massage the marinade into the chicken. Cover the bowl and place the chicken into the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Prepare the veggies. While the chicken is marinating, add the butternut squash and red potatoes to a large bowl. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and toss. Add the salt, pepper, thyme, and garlic powder to the vegetables and toss until the butternut squash and potatoes are coated in spices. Set aside.
- Prepare the pepitas. Add the pepitas, maple syrup, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and salt to a bowl and toss until the pepitas are coated.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the pepitas to the skillet. Toast in the skillet for 5-7 minutes or until they begin to turn a golden brown color. Be sure to move the pepitas around every few minutes to be sure they don’t burn.
- When the pepitas are browned, carefully remove them from the heat and pour them on parchment paper to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF and remove the chicken from the fridge and let the thighs sit out for 10 minutes before searing. Heat a large skillet or a dutch oven with high sides (we used a cast iron skillet with 4-5 inch sides) over medium/high heat. Add 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil.
- When the olive oil is fragrant, let the marinade drip from the chicken thighs and then place the chicken thighs skin-side down in the skillet and let the chicken sear for 4-5 minutes. Be sure to gently move the chicken while it is searing to be sure the skin isn’t sticking to the pan. Flip the chicken thighs and let them cook for an additional 5 minutes on the other side. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.
- Leave the chicken drippings in the skillet and add the onions to the skillet. Cook the onions for 2-3 minutes and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 1 minute.
- Add the wine to the pan to deglaze the pan and then add the butternut squash and potatoes to the skillet and toss with the onions and garlic. Cook the butternut squash and potatoes for 4-5 minutes.
- Add the uncooked orzo to the skillet and toss with all the other ingredients. Let the orzo toast in the pan for 2-3 minutes.
- Finally, add the chicken broth, kale, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper to the skillet and stir together. Drizzle the heavy cream over all of the ingredients and mix again.
- Place the chicken thighs on top of all of the other ingredients and cover the skillet.
- Place the skillet in the oven and bake at 375ºF for 15 minutes. Uncover the skillet and let it bake for an additional 10 minutes.
- Remove the skillet from the oven and let it rest for 5-10 minutes to allow any liquid to absorb. Be sure the internal temperature of the chicken is 165ºF.
- Sprinkle the pepitas, cranberries, and goat cheese over the top of the skillet and enjoy!
Tips & Notes
- If you use a skillet that is not cast iron, the cook times may vary slightly depending on what pan you use.
- You can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs, but reduce the sear time to 2 minutes per side and be sure to check the internal temperature of the chicken when you are baking so that the thighs don’t over bake.
- Do not add the cream when you add the broth or it may curdle.
- If you do not like spice, use less cayenne pepper in the pepitas.