Greek Lamb with Orzo

Greek lamb and Orzo
I love this dish, it takes a while to cook but doesn’t take that much time to prepare (if your lamb is already cubed). The slow cooking means cheaper cuts of meat can be used. The cinnamon with the lamb makes it distinctly Greek in flavour and it is more of a Greek home cooked meal than anything you will find in a Greek restaurant. I first came across orzo 20 years ago when a Greek friend Maria cooked dinner for us. It is small pieces of oval pasta almost shaped like large grains of rice and it works particularly well in casseroles like this. These days it is available in most large supermarkets in the UK.
Quantities serve 6 generous portions
Ingredients
  • 1kg diced lamb
  • 2 onions
  • 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

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Cut the lamb into chunks, then spread over the base of a large, wide casserole dish. Slice onions then add them together with oregano, cinnamon sticks, ground cinnamon and olive oil, then stir well.
  2. Bake, uncovered, for 45 mins, stirring halfway.
  3. Pour over the chopped tomatoes and stock, cover tightly, then return to the oven for 1½ hrs, until the lamb is very tender. (Dish can be frozen at this point, resume from next step after defrosting).
  4. Remove the cinnamon sticks, 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.
  5. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan.
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