Greek lamb with Orzo – BBC Good Food

Greek lamb with orzo

This is one of those deceptively simple dishes that is delicious. The lamb is cooked until it is meltingly tender and the stock, tomatoes and lamb fat combine to make a rich sauce. You can adjust quantity of Orzo and Lamb up and down depending on budget. It is not time critical and the middle stage could be longer. It’s a good dish to make up to the end of stage 2 then leave on a low heat until people are nearly ready for dinner then turn up the heat and add the orzo. This dish is popular with the whole family.

I got the butcher to bone and cube the lamb. Getting him to bone the shoulder was a good idea but I should have trimmed and cubed it myself it would have been quicker than trimming the pieces. Quantities below serve 6.

Recipe can be found @

Orzo is a small pasta shaped like a large grain of rice or barley. The name Orzo is Italian for little barley and you’ll find packs of Orzo in the pasta section of any decent supermarket. The Greek name for that type of pasta is manéstra although the term manéstra is usually used for the dish made with the Orzo.


  • 1kg shoulder of lamb
  • 2 onions sliced
  • 1 tbsp chopped oregano, or 1 tsp dried
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cinnamon sticks , broken in half
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1.2l hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • 400g orzo
  • freshly grated parmesan, to serve


  1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Cut the lamb into 4cm chunks, then spread over the base of a large, wide casserole dish. Add the onions, oregano, cinnamon sticks, ground cinnamon and olive oil, then stir well. Bake, uncovered, for 45 mins, stirring halfway.
  2. Pour over the chopped tomatoes and stock, cover tightly, then return to the oven for 1½ hrs, until the lamb is very tender.
  3. Remove the cinnamon sticks (if you can find them – I couldn’t), then stir in the orzo. Cover again, then cook for a further 20 mins, stirring halfway through. The orzo should be cooked and the sauce thickened. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and serve with a greek salad and crusty bread.

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