Greek Lamb and Orzo ~

I went to D.C., recently and had a wonderful time.  Full with friends, woderful sights and delightful food.

One of the things I did was go on a "walking tour" of the Capitol area and it included small meals at three restaurants.  We walked for four hours and stopped in between some great sights.  If you get the chance, take a walking tour of any place you visit, it's a great way to see some of the out of the way places.  And one of the restaurants was Greek, we had a version of this dish there.  It was wonderful, so I wanted to create it when I came home.

First of all, this dish is traditionally baked in the oven along with a leg of lamb, fresh tomatoes and orzo thrown in at the end.  What a fabulous combination too, so yummy.

I don't make huge meals any longer, the kids are all grown and on their own.  So I googled some recipes and I found one that uses ground lamb and done on the stove top. 

Here is the recipe I found, although I adapted it a bit.  It's from The Daily Meal.

1 pound ground lamb
  • Two 14 ½-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes, juices reserved (I used diced)
  • 1 cup water (I used the reserved juice from the diced tomatoes)
  • 3 cups uncooked orzo pasta (I used 1&1/2 cups)
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2/3 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne (this was too hot, please use 1/2 tsp.)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 teaspoons dried oregano (I used 1 tsp.)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (I used 3)

    Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the lamb, breaking it up into crumbles, and cook until browned (with no visible pink).  (I removed the lamb to a bowl and set aside)
    In the same pan, stir in the tomatoes and their juice, water, orzo, celery, onion, allspice, salt, cayenne, bay leaves, oregano, and garlic. Bring the mix to a boil. (I sauteed the onion, celery and garlic for 5 minutes first)
    Reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the orzo is tender and has absorbed the liquid from the tomatoes and extra water — about 15 minutes. Combine with the cooked lamb and serve. (After 5 minutes on medium low, I stirred it and it was getting dry on the bottom of the pan, so I shut the stove off and just let it finish, stirring a couple of times.) 
    Add lamb back into pan and stir.  Serve with feta or grated cheese.

    Recipe Details

    Prep time: 5 minutes
    Cooking time: 20 minutes
    Total time: 25 minutes
    Serves four (plus some very delicious leftovers).
    We also went to a great Thai restaurant for lunch one day and one of the dishes we had was Basil Fried Rice.  It was so, so good....
    I think I'll google this one next to try....



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