Evening readers, I have a delicious, super easy but tremendously tasty meal to share tonight. It's one I've made a few times and is great for a family meal but also for entertaining, particularly due to its obscurely named ingredient. Orzo is just a type of pasta, shaped a bit like a grain of rice but slightly larger. It therefore takes an incredibly short amount of time to cook (if you were to boil it, as is the usual method of cooking pasta) although the way it is cooked in this recipe takes somewhat longer.
Greek lamb with orzo by Mary Cadogan on BBCGoodFood feels like the type of meal you might order in a typical Greek restaurant on a typical Greek holiday at the end of a typically Greek day at the beach, wishing you were a little cooler, swimming in the tremendously salty sea to cool off, and going for an evening stroll to choose where to eat from a plethora of inviting restaurants. I think the placemat in the photo is slighty reminiscent of the sea actually; perhaps that's why my imagination is running wild with memories of Greek holidays!
So, as I've done with previous recipes, I'm going to just go through the main points of the recipe which may be helpful, plus some general photos. There isn't much I do differently in the method, other than take the cooking time down by 15 minutes in step two, purely for reasons of time, but also because I've done that every time I've cooked it and the meat has turned out perfectly tender. I also find slightly above 160C, more like 170C, is fine if you need to save time (albeit 15 minutes isn't very much).
Generic ingredients shot
So the first step couldn't be easier. There is no sealing of the meat, you just throw the cubed lamb, sliced onion, herbs and spices into a casserole (I'm using my trusty, beautiful Le Creuset which I got for Christmas, thanks to my wonderful MIL).
Give it all a good stir...
...and put it in the oven, uncovered, for 45 minutes. This will nicely brown the meat and it will even start to crisp up and develop some flavour.
Remember to prepare your stock a little before the lamb is to be removed from the oven. I just used a stock cube, but obviously you may use home made "real" stock, which, I must admit, I have never made myself!
The lamb should look something like this when you remove it from the oven.
Add the tomatoes and stock, give it another good stir, and return to the oven, covered, for 1 1/4 hours (or add the extra 15 minutes if you like).
Prepare the orzo ready to be added to the lamb.
Remove the casserole from the oven once again,
add the orzo
and stir well.
On the final removal from the oven, it should look something like this. You can see the meat is tender and falling apart.
Give it another final stir,
This meal serves up perfectly for children as well as adults. It is healthy and very, very tasty. Both my boys asked for more, and fortuntely there were a few scrapings left.
Don't forget to add copious amounts of parmesan!
This is such a delicious meal and will really go down well with everyone, and is also a change for children who like eating pasta, as so many do. Orzo is certainly easier to eat than lots of other pasta shapes! There is nothing at all difficult about cooking this meal; the ingredients are all simple, and you will find Orzo in the pasta aisle of most larger supermarkets. As you can see, I got mine in Tesco (surprise!), but I have also seen it in Morrisons and Asda. The only thing you do need is a little more time, but a lot of it is oven time, so you can do other things while it's in.
So, be a little adventurous with a new ingredient this week, even if it is really an old ingredient in disguise. As always, I'd love to see your photos if you make it; share them on the Facebook page or send me a message via the same.
Happy cooking :)