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Grilled Meats and Vegetables Over Saffron Orzo

by Leigh Sackett

I get overzealous about a lot of things! But one thing at the top of my overzealous list is … SPRING!!! As soon as that warm weather starts and those blooms abound, I want to get up early to watch the sunrise, go hiking, cut flower blooms, grill out, plant a garden and eat from the garden before it is even planted!

I am ready for the warm season to take over. I love the battle between cold air and warm that plays out in March and April. It is so real and wild and truly amazing to be a spectator of it all but I am ready when warmth finally wins, and ever so ready to be in it!  So here’s to Spring’s victory – may the warm breezes reign!

This recipe is from the Food Network and it involves a lot of wonderful spring time grilling. So enjoy and have fun out there!

For marinade:

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup fresh lemon juice, from about 5 lemons

2 cups extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons smoked salt, or kosher salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

For grill:

3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1/2 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined

2 ears corn, husked and cut into thirds

1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, wiped clean

1 red bell pepper, halved and cored

1 yellow bell pepper, halved and cored

1 orange bell pepper, halved and cored

In a medium bowl, combine the marinade ingredients.

In a large bowl, combine half the marinade with the chicken breasts, chicken thighs, and shrimp. Toss to combine. Cover and let marinate for at least 1 hour. If marinating for longer than 1 hour, make sure to refrigerate.

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Brush the corn with reserved unused marinade and wrap in foil. Toss the mushrooms with 1/4 cup of the reserved unused marinade. Grill the chicken breasts and thighs to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, about 7 minutes a side. Grill the corn inside the foil, for about 5 minutes a side. Grill the peppers for about 5 minutes a side. Grill the shrimp and the mushrooms, about 2 minutes a side. Brush the grilled peppers with the last of the reserved unused marinade. Slice the peppers and mushrooms before serving, if desired.

Arrange grilled meats and vegetables over the saffron orzo on a large platter and serve immediately.

Saffron Orzo:

4 cups chicken stock

1 teaspoon saffron threads

1 pound dried orzo

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 lemon, juiced

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

In a large pot, bring the chicken stock to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, bringing the stock to a simmer. Add the saffron, stir, and allow the saffron to bloom, about 5 minutes. Return the heat to medium and the stock to a boil, then add the orzo and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain orzo and transfer to a large bowl. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and parsley. Toss to combine.

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