Summertime stodge. Nobody nails it quite like those canny Greeks. This classic melange of lamb, tomato and rice-shaped pasta is the ideal thing to simmer up and leave on the blip while you crack on with more important things (like constructing makeshift paddling pools from plastic buckets, for example). I particularly love the way the grains of orzo swell up with cinnamon scented lamby juices and have included smoked aubergine and anchovy stuffed olives in my version. Although I’m guessing it’s not completely authentic; I can confirm that by heck it’s tasty.
This is at it’s most delicious served ever so slightly warm with lots of Greek salad and ripped up baguette.
half a shoulder of lamb, cubed
1 aubergine, chunked
8-10 shallots, peeled and halved
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 glass red wine
2 tbsp. anchovy stuffed olives
1 cinnamon stick
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 pint stock (lamb or vegetable)
2 tsp. each of dried oregano and thyme
1 dried chilli
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
100g feta, diced
fresh mint leaves
– in a large pan brown the lamb in batches and set aside. Fry onion and garlic in the fat. Place the aubergine over a gas burner or in the oven to blister. Cool when black.
-return the lamb to the pot, crank up the heat and pour in the wine. Reduce and introduce the olives, tomatoes, rosemary, chilli, cinnamon, oregano, thyme and stock. Peel and dice the aubergine and add to the pot.
– simmer over a low heat for at least 2 hrs (I lasted for 4). Stir occasionally and more water as necessary.
-Remove cinnamon stick. Add more water and tip in the orzo. Cook for another 20 minutes or until the orzo is done.
– Serve in shallow bowls strewn with feta and mint.