"Greek" Lamb with Orzo

March 4, 2013

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes:

About a million years ago, when my brothers and I were just starting to be adventurous enough to eat foods other than Norwegian meatballs or fish cakes, my mom found a recipe for Greek lamb with orzo in a magazine -- Cooking Light or Eating Well or one of those types -- and tried it out on us. It was a hit and became a mainstay of our family meals. It was also the recipe she sent to each of us, successively, when we needed something easy but impressive to cook for friends in college. It's still one of my favorite meals, and a wonderful way to easily serve a crowd. Of course, as I've evolved, my lamb with orzo has evolved as well, gathering additional ingredients and spices like a glacier gathering stones. Very recently, I made April Bloomfield's lamb meatballs in spicy sauce, and it knocked my socks off with its deliciousness. It also reminded me of my lamb with orzo -- which by this point had already become more "Greek" flavored than Greek flavored -- so I adapted some of her techniques, adding them to the mix.
What makes this a cheap feast? When I think of a feast, besides feeding a crowd, I feel like it ought to have some little elements of decadence, some richness that makes it feel ever so above the ordinary. But, if it needs to be cheap, this means you must be clever and judicious with your fancier ingredients, scattering them with elegance rather than ebullience, and stretching them with simpler, complementary, ingredients. I feel like this dish does just that.


Food52 Review: WHO: Fiveandspice is a long-time Food52-er who works nothing but magic in the kitchen.
WHAT: A filling -- and exciting -- dinner that goes from stove to the table in under an hour.
HOW: Cook up a pot of saucy, fragrant lamb, and then all that's left is a quick boil of the pasta.
WHY WE LOVE IT: The process is straightforward, but the finished dish doesn't taste that way; in terms of eating and cooking, it's a win-win. And you only have to dirty two pots! We'd run out for the ingredients now, if we were you.
The Editors

Serves: 8-10
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 1 hrs 30 min


  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 28 ounces can of whole tomatoes, drained and smooshed with your hands (fun!)
  • 14 ounces can of chopped/diced tomatoes
  • 5 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 pound orzo pasta
  • 2 cups chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
In This Recipe


  1. In a good sized Dutch oven or other heavy bottomed pan, heat the one tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat until it is shimmering. Add the lamb and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a good grinding of black pepper. Cook, stirring to break it apart, until it is nicely browned. Remove the lamb with a slotted spoon and drain all but 2 tablespoons of the fat.
  2. Return the pot to the stove top and add the onion and garlic (still over medium-high). Cook, stirring occasionally, until they are softened and golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the spices (cinnamon, oregano, cumin, coriander, and red pepper) and cook until they start smelling extremely toasty and fragrant (1-2 minutes). Then, stir in the smooshed tomatoes.
  3. Cook the smooshed tomatoes in the spices, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Then, add the can of diced tomatoes and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the cooked lamb back to the pot, give a good stir, then cover the pot and leave it to cook, stirring from time to time, for 20 minutes. At this point, stir in the fresh spinach and cook just a couple more minutes until the spinach is wilted. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste (keeping in mind you'll be sprinkling just a touch of feta and olives on, which will add to the saltiness).
  5. While the lamb and tomatoes are simmering together and marrying their flavors, bring a large pot of well-salted water (it should taste like sea water, basically) to a boil. Add the orzo and cook until al dente, about 7 or 8 minutes, usually. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water.
  6. Drain the orzo. Toss the orzo with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the lemon juice, and all of the parsley, adding a bit of pasta water at a time, if you feel it needs additional liquid.
  7. Spread the orzo out on an enormous serving platter. Spoon the lamb and sauce all over the top, then sprinkle with the feta and chopped olives. Pass the dish around the table and relax. A good red wine, on the dry side, is a highly recommended companion here.

More Great Recipes:
Mediterranean|Greek|Cumin|Lamb|Lemon Juice|Oregano|Orzo|Parsley|Coriander|Serves a Crowd|Make Ahead|Fall

Reviews (152) Questions (1)

152 Reviews

Johanna May 21, 2018
I followed the suggestion of using 1.5x the spices, and omitting the 14 oz of tomatoes. Instead of 2 cups of water, I used one cup plus the juice from the smooshed whole tomatoes, and let the liquid reduce a few more minutes than indicated. It was SO good!
Amy T. January 21, 2018
I got a pound of ground lamb in my monthly meat share last month and was stumped about what to do with it. I stumbled across this recipe and decided to give it a try. I already had most of the ingredients on hand, so the flavors are familiar to me. This reminds me a little bit of a Bolognese, but the flavors are all Greek. I couldn't get fresh spinach at the grocery store so I substituted well-wrung frozen spinach. I also forgot the fresh parsley, but it was still delicious. I've added this to my recipe box and will definitely make it again next time I get my hands on some ground lamb.
deanna1001 November 30, 2017
Made this today to bring to choir rehearsal. It was a very big hit and I shared the recipe with quite a few members. I found the spicing just perfect. Perhaps those who wanted more had less fresh spices than I had. Really great on a mixed buffet table. And the cooking scents are lovely and warming on a fall day. Thank you!
Robin September 7, 2017
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david M. June 29, 2017
awesome post. The list of ingredients is long but most are things I usually have on hand and the dish comes together quickly. <br />I am resently posted at http://www.princezamira.com
CanadaDan February 21, 2017
great recipe! i halved it all but found it wouldn't be nearly enough for 4-5 (recipe says 8-10). I added some extra ground beef i had lying around as well. It was a little too soupy also, and that's even though i simmered without a lid the whole time. I added potatoes to add more substance (simmered them in the sauce for 15-20 minutes) but still found ti served 3-4 people at most. that said, the flavours were delicious, really great spices and justthe right amount of heat. i'll make this again (with my changes) for sure
Shortrib July 30, 2016
Great! Richer than a bolognaise but brightened up by the lemon in the orzo. I've frozen the leftover sauce and can't wait to get back to it!
Yayita July 30, 2016
I had everything except ground lamb and so I substituted it for ground bison :( I know not the same; and it showed. I thought I could get away with this substitution and still get a good dish but it was a fail. Putting aside this big substitution, I also wasn't digging the sauce for a lack of better word. The flavor and combination of the spices felt bland and muted. I was thinking maybe I used a wrong brand of canned tomatoes or maybe this is one of those dishes that's best eaten the same day rather than the following day. I will have to try again with ground lamb and taste the difference.
Heather June 15, 2016
wow. delicious. cinnamon can be tricky, I find, but you played it perfectly here. it sings with everything else in marvelous harmony. this is already a favorite, and I bet it will be accompanying me down that time-tested recipe road, you lovingly wrote of. thank you.
Mike D. February 7, 2016
Anyone would be knocked off their station with April Bloomfield's lamb meatballs in spicy sauce as its absolutely deliciousness... I made one of these for a recent family gathering and they were dead chuffed with it... <br />Its an absolutely simple yet amazing treat this... thanks so much http://www.benonscatering.co.uk
jill October 5, 2015
Delicious! After reading the comments, I upped the spices by 1.5x and used only half of the 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes and about 1 cup of water. The tomato/lamb mixture was on the liquidy side but the flavors were perfect. Perfect Sunday night dinner with leftovers for the week.
MBE September 29, 2015
Very Good! The list of ingredients is long but most are things I usually have on hand and the dish comes together quickly. Best of all the leftovers are great. I made half a recipe for the two of us, but next time will likely make a full recipe and simply pass the olives and feta.
Megan September 23, 2015
I love this dish. I've made it with both beef and lamb and enjoyed it both ways. I love that it is easy, satisfying to eat, and keeps well for leftovers or for making ahead. I make it as written except I might not put the full 2 cups of water in. I do use extra feta and olives because I just love feta and olives. Thanks for such a winner!
Suma C. July 4, 2015
easy and delicious, already had most ingredients on hand. Great meal to make in advance to keep for lunch for the week.
aimeebama June 17, 2015
Outstanding. I also used more concentrated tomato flavour. Thank you for a super meal. The whole family with crazy with yummmmmmies.
iron_cho June 7, 2015
I've made this twice: the first time, it was very good; made some minor tweaks the second time, and it was phenomenal. 1stx: Too much cinnamon for our taste. 2ndx: Instead of the ground cinnamon, we threw in a bark/stick into the mix to simmer, and then removed before serving--perfect! 1stx: used tomatoes, whole and diced, in the proportions stated; 2ndx: cut back to 14oz. of whole tomatoes, and added a bit of tomato paste instead. I preferred the more concentrated flavor of the paste. Either way, this is a very forgiving recipe and probably beautifully accommodates any number of preference changes. Thanks so much for the keeper, fiveandspice! :)
Lindsey W. May 29, 2015
This was so. good. I added worcestshire sauce to the tomatoes and it deepens the flavor. Excellent
N May 18, 2015
De. Lic. Ous. Four people licked their plates clean. No way it will serve 8, because fist fights will ensue over second helpings.<br />Per some comments, I downsized the tomato - only 1 can of the "smooshed". I also used arugula instead of spinach, and just tossed it in at the very last second because I prefer my greens barely wilted.<br />Will definitely up the spice mixture next time (the combination of spices is perfect!). Also, not sure if I read this here, or not, but Ina Garten's tzatziki sauce dolloped on top was sublime. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/easy-tzatziki-with-toasted-pita-crisps-recipe.html<br />Yum :-P<br />
Geri April 9, 2015
Family loved it. Now a permanent part of my repertoire! Thanks<br />
Jenna W. February 4, 2015
THIS was AWESOME! Boyfriend licked the plate clean. Thank you, I'm writing down for my recipe box. I know I will make this throughout my lifetime. Cheers!!
Kate M. January 9, 2015
Love Love Love this recipe! Even better the next day so this is a great dish to make a day ahead and let the flavors develop. I never change a thing to this recipe and it always impresses a crowd!
Ashley M. December 14, 2014
Amazing recipe! I have now made this twice with rave reviews from the family. It's such a simple recipe to make even on a weeknight but never feeling like a quick weeknight dinner (if that makes sense).
Rebecca September 28, 2014
Very tasty! I followed it verbatim apart from simmering the lamb mixture for 40minutes rather than 20; would have been too watery otherwise. Next time I'd use 1 cup of water rather than 2 although this could alter the flavour. Will definitely make again. Will be a good dish for entertaining as you can make the sauce in advance.
Jan G. September 18, 2014
Delicious recipe. Everyone had seconds. Would maybe cut the water in recipe a little and drain orzo better and not adding the pasta water ... Looking forward to the second day flavors.
chris September 5, 2014
This is an absolutely delicious dish, which explodes with flavor, and looks gorgeous. I used fresh jalapeno, instead of crushed red pepper; and included an eggplant that needed to be used. I also had some shredded lamb in the freezer (I think it was leftover from lamb shanks), which added a nice texture.
jeri July 27, 2014
This dish is *amazing*! My entire family, from age 11 to adult, loved this dish. My husband, who as a matter of principle (very fit/inshape) never has seconds did have seconds. Plus, it makes a ton of food--we are a family of 8 and we still have leftovers (fortunately!). Will definitely make it again. Made it exactly as written except didn't add the cayenne pepper.
Jerome K. June 8, 2014
Cooked this fantastic dish alongside the kale/cabbage/brussel sprouts salad and my guests we thrilled. I used a little less tomato and would recommend using about 1/2 of the tomato amount. Also, it could have benefitted from a bit more lamb. Nonetheless, a great dish in both taste and in presentation, and the salad was a great complement.
willsmom May 26, 2014
Tried this last night on a group of 7 - and it was a huge hit. I didn't leave out any tomato, just did the prescribed simmering. However, I doubled the recipe and still had people who would have eaten more. Granted, we are more of a paleo crowd and the orzo wasn't totally eaten. Served with a big salad as well - plus tzatziki. And spiced chickpeas for appetizer. If you have even one big eater, you might consider doubling. I am sure it tastes fabulous the next day!
tastysweet May 26, 2014
It is even better the next day. And if there are any left overs, it freezes well and still tastes fantastic.
Agnes May 24, 2014
This was very tasty. While I halved the tomatoes, it was still very liquid. I will just use one can of chopped tomatoes. Definitely yum!
csemsack May 20, 2014
Wish I had read all the comments, instead of the first 6. Too tomatoey for us, I would definately cut out the 14 oz can of diced and definitely up the spices. Very good!
Steve R. April 14, 2014
Has anyone used fresh mint in this recipe that sounds awesome! My cousin near Rochester, NY sent it to me after making it and loving it! I bought a boneless leg of lamb roast from Costco and will grind it myself to use in this and to make Lamb burgers with Feta & mint...
ECMotherwell April 9, 2014
Made it last night, and Oh My Goodness -- this recipe is PERFECT. Every element is balanced just right, and the result is deeeeelicious. Thank you, fiveandspice!! My very small modifications included: using ground turkey (had it on hand, couldn't find lamb), using about twice as much chopped spinach as listed, and serving on couscous instead of orzo. Yummmmmmmm.
luv2cook2 March 8, 2014
To make this dish is to love this dish! I didn't change a thing and still wouldn’t. That’s unusual for me since I always want to tinker. Thank you fiveandspice for this! Looking forward to trying other recipes you’ve posted. So many look so good!
Ashley M. February 21, 2014
I haven't made this yet (I know, I know, I'll come back and review when I do) but I am DYING to after reading it. My boyfriend is having a few colleagues over and has informed me he wants a more "casual" experience than a real sit-down dinner. I was thinking of doing Korean-inspired tacos, but now I'm thinking THIS is what I need to do! Everyone can grab plates of it, and who doesn't love lamb? Oh, thank you SO MUCH for this recipe!!
Xtinabytes February 5, 2014
This was a unanimous hit! I took the leftovers to work and had my coworkers swooning! Was just as good the next day!
Linda January 19, 2014
Made this last night, delicious! I think next time, I'll use whole cumin seed & coriander and toast them before adding. I did increase the spices, other than the cinnamon.
Author Comment
fiveandspice January 20, 2014
Mmm, yes. Whole toasted spices are always best, if you have time!
tastysweet December 6, 2013
Making this again this weekend for different guests. This will be my go to recipe. Thanks for this dish. <br />Happy holidays to everyone. Love to read all the posts for different suggestions.
Author Comment
fiveandspice January 20, 2014
Happy to hear it!
Sarah S. December 6, 2013
This was fantastic - I chopped up some lamb leg and used that in place of the ground lamb but other than that, I found the rest of the recipe. I can't wait to eat it for lunch today!
Author Comment
fiveandspice January 20, 2014
So glad!
tastysweet November 15, 2013
I made this fabulous dish back in July. It was a big hit. I used a 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes and the called for amount of diced tomatoes and used only 1 1/2 C of water. The consistency was perfect. I made this the day before and then put it in my slow cooker the next day for about 5 hrs. on low and then just kept it on warm until serving. I will confess, I totally forgot to put the spinach in. I had it in the fridge ready to plop it in. But no one noticed. Will be making this again. Thanks for a really intense flavorful dish.
Author Comment
fiveandspice January 20, 2014
ellen November 14, 2013
OMG this is AMAZING! i tweaked it via some comment suggestions: i increased the spices by 50%, just used 28oz. chopped (not whole) tomatoes UNdrained & did not add the other 14oz. can chopped tomatoes or the water. it was delicious & can totally be made ahead up until adding the spinach at the end: just make the pasta while you reheat the lamb, then chop some fresh spinach & throw it in & serve with a simple salad & barefoot contessa's killer tzatziki: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/09/grilled-lamb-kebabs-tzatziki/<br />thanks for a FABULOUS recipe! easy, delicious, feeds crowd on a budget, gorgeous presentation & able to make ahead- what more could you want? :)
Author Comment
fiveandspice January 20, 2014
CookLikeMad September 17, 2013
I made this last night with ground grass-fed beef since my market was out of ground lamb, and it was wonderful. I skipped the Kalamata olives since my husband doesn't like them, and served it with a dill & cucumber yogurt as juliunruly suggested. It served 4 with plenty of leftovers for 3 to 4 more.
Author Comment
fiveandspice September 23, 2013
Yum! This makes me want to make some and have it with dill and cucumber yogurt right now!
ginampen September 5, 2013
Thanks for the great dish, it is very good and creative! Although I have made it several times, I do not follow the way the recipe is ordered because, in my opinion, it is unnecessarily long. Instead of steps 1-4, add a little olive oil to a pan and add the garlic and onions. Once those are going I add the lamb until browned, mix in the spices, then add only one can of whole tomatoes, roughly chopped, then let simmer to marry the flavors for about 10 - 15 minutes. I do not add the other can of tomatoes or water because it get too watery. Followed by steps 5-7, this dish really is a winner!
Author Comment
fiveandspice September 23, 2013
It's always nice to figure out streamlined versions!
Regine August 4, 2013
We had this for dinner tonight. Very good but i skipped the cinnamon, cumin and oregano which I don't like much. I used herbes de provence instead of the oregano and i followed someone's advice to cut the water from 2 cups to one cup. I prefer my pasts on the dry side (particularly when u have the ground lamb mixture on top) so skip the pasta water, and cut the 4 tbsp lemon juice in the pasta to 1 tbsp. I also added some lemon zest to the ground lamb mixture. Also, this as main dish cannot be for more than 6 people.
Author Comment
fiveandspice August 7, 2013
Glad you made adjustments to suit your taste! I think how many people this feeds will vary a great deal depending on appetites and whether you serve it with side dishes. I usually have it accompanied by a very, very large salad, which may be why it stretches further.
karencooks July 18, 2013
This is a delicious recipe!!! Have enough to freeze for another wonderful meal!!!
Author Comment
fiveandspice July 19, 2013
tastysweet June 23, 2013
Thought of a question as I again browsed the ingredients. I very rarely if ever use coriander. What can I use as a substitute or is that a necessary spice? Just hate to buy it just for this recipe. <br />Much thanks.
Author Comment
fiveandspice June 23, 2013
Hi tasty sweet, I'd guess around 12-16 oz on the onion. For coriander there aren't really any great substitutes. You could use a pinch of cardamom and then up the cumin. Personally I think coriander is an awesome spice, so if you do decide to buy some I'm sure you could find lots of uses for it! :)
tastysweet June 23, 2013
Thanks, any other ideas for using coriander?
Author Comment
fiveandspice June 23, 2013
Well, it is often a central spice in curries. It's also good in tagines and a lot of Middle Eastern dishes, and I usually add some if I'm making a chili. It's also good in spice rubs for grilled meat.
tastysweet June 23, 2013
ok then. thanks.
tastysweet June 23, 2013
I plan on making this recipe for company as it looks fantastic. When you say one (1) large onion, to me that is in the eyes of the beholder! Can you aproximize it's weight. That would be helpful to me. I know it doesn'thave to be exact, just a guide line. <br />Thanks.
juliunruly June 13, 2013
Time consuming, but AAAAHHHMAZING. Serve with copious amounts of red wine to people with big appetites. Would definitely do a yogurt/cucumber salad with dill on the side next time.
Author Comment
fiveandspice June 13, 2013
Glad you liked it! A yogurt and cucumber salad would totally be a delicious side for it. Great suggestion!
Laurelb May 29, 2013
Made this tonight and we liked it a lot. I would make a few changes. First it would not serve more than 4 people at our house. I would increase the spices by half again and reduce the water to 1 cup to get a thicker sauce. I added the currants and would do it again.
Author Comment
fiveandspice June 2, 2013
Definitely tweak anything to your taste!
Rmapofboca May 22, 2013
Saw this recipe last night and knew I needed to make immediately... so I i made it for dinner tonight! Absolutely delicious. The family loved it. Easy enough for a weeknight dinner. I followed the suggestion of adding currants, both because i really like the salty-savory- sweet trifecta and because I have an enormous container of currants from a restaurant supply warehouse. It was an excellent addition. Thank you for adding another great dish to my repertoire...
Author Comment
fiveandspice May 22, 2013
Wonderful! Glad it went over well!
Laurie May 22, 2013
Oops - sorry. Just saw the post DIRECTLY BELOW my question that answers my question. Guess my skim-reading skills aren't what they used to be!
Author Comment
fiveandspice May 22, 2013
Laurie May 22, 2013
So good! Do you know if it freezes well?
tastysweet May 19, 2013
If I keep the orzo separate from the lamb mixture, can I freeze this? Also thought about putting chopped dried mission figs or dates in it. BTW: I love orzo and use it a lot inlieu of rice.
Author Comment
fiveandspice May 19, 2013
Yes, definitely! It reheats quite nicely. And, I bet chopped dried figs or dates would be delicious in it.
Glitterpunk87 May 16, 2013
Very tasty. My husband is from the Mediterranean and I'm always on the hunt for twists on those basic favors. This fit the bill at every turn. Easy, wonderfully fragrant, enough for a crowd, absolutely delectable, and looks elegant on a platter. Thank you for sharing.
Author Comment
fiveandspice May 16, 2013
Thank you! Glad it went over well!
chefbonandee May 10, 2013
Made this a few days ago. The grocery store I went to after work didn't have ground lamb, and I couldn't muster the strength to drive to another store, so I subbed in ground bison. Also used a dry mix of wild rice and lentils in place of the orzo, but still treated it as you do the orzo in the recipe. I added chopped crimini mushrooms to the meat mixture, and topped each plate of food with a big dollop of greek yogurt. It turned out so great! Amazing layers of flavor, the boyfriend cleaned his plate, and I felt light and healthy after having it for lunch. Will definitely be making this again.
Author Comment
fiveandspice May 10, 2013
Love your creative adaptations! I'm glad you guys liked it so much! I definitely always feel really light and healthy after eating this one too. There's something so fresh and just the right level of filling about it.
Carolyn T. May 7, 2013
Oh my gosh, Emily! This dish was beyond fabulous. I didn't have orzo, so used farfalline (baby bowties) and I had arugula instead of spinach, but am sure those alterations did not change the great flavors. My hubby and I both nearly licked our plates. Thanks for your great recipe. Loved the story about your mom and how you have made additions to the original. I've signed up for your blog via RSS. I looked for the recipe on your blog?? Couldn't find it. I want to link to it . . . you need to write it up!
Author Comment
fiveandspice May 7, 2013
Thank you so much Carolyn! I'm absolutely thrilled you guys enjoyed it so much, and your alterations sound like they worked deliciously. You're right, this recipe isn't on my blog. It's one of the funny things about my blog that I realized lately, which is that a number of my most staple meals never have made it on the blog because I make them on nights when I'm not in the mood to drag out my camera. But, I'm trying to get better about capturing those ones too - since they're some of the best! So, hopefully it'll be on there one of these days soon. :)
karencooks April 29, 2013
I made this recipe last night and it is fantastic. What flavor!!!
Author Comment
fiveandspice April 29, 2013
Thank you so much! Glad to hear you liked it so much!
JanetFL April 24, 2013
Congratulations on your win - this sounds wonderful! I will be making it for a get-together that will occur at the beginning of June. Can't wait!
Author Comment
fiveandspice April 29, 2013
That's great! Hope you all enjoy it!
pamelalee April 22, 2013
I cooked a double batch of this today, and I'm so glad I didI Now I can share it with my friend, also a food52 fan, who just delivered her fifth child a few weeks early.
Author Comment
fiveandspice April 22, 2013
How nice of you! Congratulations and good luck to your friend on her newest addition! :)
foxeslovelemons April 9, 2013
Congratulations! This dish looks excellent, and I usually have all of these ingredients on hand, so I'll be trying it out soon :)
Author Comment
fiveandspice April 10, 2013
Hope you enjoy it!
Daralynn H. April 7, 2013
Made this last night and it was sooooo delicious! Got to enjoy the leftovers for lunch - yay! Congratulations on your win. I will make this again for sure!
Author Comment
fiveandspice April 8, 2013
Thank you Daralynn! That's awesome! (And, it does make great lunch leftovers doesn't it?! :) )
kxr173 April 6, 2013
Amazing dish! I multiplied it by 6 and made it to feed a huge crowd of 60 middle school boys as part of an after school dinner program for underserved & underprivileged kids in the city. I chose this because it has veggies, flavor and is beautiful to serve. The boys loved it, even the skeptical ones & this was a hit with all of the volunteers on staff. I was glad to provide a warm, healthy meal on budget to these children. I used grass fed beef and served with some warmed pita slices and raw veggies with tzatziki dip to encourage the kids to eat as many veggies as possible. Getting nervous that I didn't make enough, I added some cooked lentils into the meat mixture to stretch it. Turns out I didn't need it, but the leftovers for the faculty to enjoy for lunch the next day were greatly appreciated. Meals like this give me hope that we can teach people that a delicious, nutritious meal can be prepared on a tight budget and families don't have to eat fast food to enjoy a decent meal. I look forward to adding this recipe to my own dinner rotation. Thank you again for sharing!
Author Comment
fiveandspice April 8, 2013
That is SO cool! I'm overwhelmed by the thought of so many people trying and enjoying this meal. Thanks for letting me know, and thanks for the good work you're doing! Those sorts of programs are so incredibly important.
Oui, C. April 5, 2013
fiveandspice rocks on! Congratulations on this awesome dish and another well deserved win.
Author Comment
fiveandspice April 6, 2013
Thanks Steve! (And great to hear from you! It sounds like you've been crazy busy!)
QueenOfGreen April 5, 2013
Made this last night for a finicky group: the girl who swore she hated cumin loved it; the girl who refuses anything with parsley loved it; the girl who turns her nose up at all things coriander/cilantro loved it. Well done you!
Author Comment
fiveandspice April 5, 2013
That is absolutely fabulous!
krusher April 4, 2013
Cooked this for dinner last night. It went over very well. Definitely a keeper. Thanks.
Author Comment
fiveandspice April 4, 2013
I'm so glad to hear it!
Eliza W. April 4, 2013
This is delicious! Served with bulgur instead of the orzo and added about 1/4 cup of currants to the pot when I added the lamb to the tomatoes. The sweetness played really well off the saltiness of the feta and olives!
Author Comment
fiveandspice April 4, 2013
Awesome! I'm glad to hear that it was good with bulgur, and I love the addition of currants. I'll try that next time.
inpatskitchen April 3, 2013
Congratulations on the win! A wonderful "Cheap Feast"!!
Author Comment
fiveandspice April 4, 2013
Thanks IPK!
QueenSashy April 3, 2013
It's truly a magical dish, congrats on the win!
Author Comment
fiveandspice April 4, 2013
Thank you very kindly QS!
Kukla April 3, 2013
Congratulations on your winning recipe, Emily! I am very happy for you!
Author Comment
fiveandspice April 4, 2013
Thanks so much Kukla!
nannydeb April 3, 2013
Congratulations! Looks yummy!
Author Comment
fiveandspice April 4, 2013
Thank you!
Emily_JK April 2, 2013
Happy to report that subbing the lamb with chickpeas and seitan sausage turns this into a wildly enjoyable (and even cheaper!)vegetarian fest!
Author Comment
fiveandspice April 2, 2013
That is wonderful to hear! I've always wondered how this would be with chickpeas, but sadly since I can't eat chickpeas (SO sad!) I've never tried it myself.
Charon E. April 3, 2013
Can't think of anything more cruel than lamb, so I will definitely try with the chickpeas! (I make chili with them, putting them first in the food processor to mimic the crumbliness of ground beef).
conniejac March 31, 2013
This sounds fantastic! I was going to make lamb meatballs for the dinner party I'm hosting next weekend but instead I'm going to try to double this recipe for my group of 18.<br /><br />Two questions, 1. do you think I'd be able to prepare some of this in advance (or even earlier that day) and reheat? and 2. Originally I was going to do a simple greek salad for the lamb meatballs but now switching mains I'm struggling to find the appropriate side dish for this feast as it appears to have all our basis covered.<br /><br />Thanks in advance!
Author Comment
fiveandspice March 31, 2013
It definitely works well to prepare it in advance. The orzo doesn't reheat quite as well (which is not surprising), but the lamb part you can definitely make ahead of time, cool, then reheat on the stovetop over gentle heat with the cover on the pot. As far as sides go, I so usually serve a salad with it, though a Greek salad might be a little bit much of a double up on the feta and olives. I like to do a simple salad with greens, maybe some sliced oranges, maybe some shaved fennel, and a lemon and olive oil dressing. Once I served it with a citrus and avocado salad, which is not exactly Mediterranean, but was still pretty tasty on the side. An arugula salad with chopped dates and pickled red onions, and maybe some toasted almonds, might be fun and a nice contrast too.
Author Comment
fiveandspice March 31, 2013
I *do* usually serve, not "so usually serve."
conniejac April 1, 2013
Thank you! Yes, I agree a green salad would work better than a Greek- feta and olive overload (although that doesn't sound so bad either!)
calendargirl March 31, 2013
Super, lovely flavors. I'm going to try this with whole wheat orzo or even bulghur, as we're trying to stay away from standard white pasta. Congrats on being a finalist, and on the bebe on the way!
Author Comment
fiveandspice March 31, 2013
Thank you so much! I'm very excited - about both things, though a little more about the baby, I must admit (surprise)! I think it would work beautifully with whole wheat orzo or bulgur. In fact, I might have to try it with bulgur next time. I love that idea, and bulgur is awesome with parsley.
carolcamille March 31, 2013
This is the toughest contest yet!
Author Comment
fiveandspice March 31, 2013
Very stiff competition! :) I'm honored to be up against Abbie's beautiful Mexican concoction!
Kukla March 30, 2013
Love this recipe!! Congratulations on these well-deserved honors.
Author Comment
fiveandspice March 30, 2013
Thank you so very much Kukla! You're very kind.
Jaijai44 March 30, 2013
A friend cooked this for me last night, with home grown tomatoes, and it was delicious! And it has introduced me to food52 in the process! Thankyou!
Author Comment
fiveandspice March 30, 2013
Oh I'm so happy to hear you guys tried it and liked it! I wish I still had some tomatoes left from last summer! Mmmmmm.
Waverly March 30, 2013
This sounds like a great weeknight family meal. Congratulations!
Author Comment
fiveandspice March 30, 2013
Many thanks Waverly! It definitely is. We use it both for a weeknight meal and for entertaining. It's easy, but people are always impressed.
Midge March 29, 2013
Yum Emily! Congrats! I'll be trying this soon.
Author Comment
fiveandspice March 29, 2013
Thanks Midge! I hope you enjoy it, and I hope life is good these days!
hardlikearmour March 29, 2013
Congrats! This sounds like a tasty party dish, and it minimizes clean-up to boot -- gotta love it!
Author Comment
fiveandspice March 29, 2013
Thanks so much Sara. It's the ultimate combo, right?! ;)
EmilyC March 28, 2013
Congrats fiveandspice! I love this combination of flavors. Also appreciate the two pot aspect -- A LOT! : )
Author Comment
fiveandspice March 29, 2013
Thanks Emily! My husband would say that I never try to minimized dishes, but I swear I appreciate low dish producing meals! :) But, I like that this one has it all!
creamtea March 28, 2013
congratulations 5&S, this sounds so good!
Author Comment
fiveandspice March 28, 2013
Thank you so much creamtea! :)
dymnyno March 28, 2013
Sounds delicious, will try very soon!
Author Comment
fiveandspice March 28, 2013
Thanks dymnyno! I hope you do! We really love it.
rachaelmr March 28, 2013
This looks great - i am going to try it out next week with friends!! Both of the finalists' dishes look very sexy!
Author Comment
fiveandspice March 28, 2013
Thanks so much Rachael! I hope you guys enjoy it! Let me know how it goes.
Madhuja March 28, 2013
Congratulations fiveandspice! I love the spice combination you have going on in here!
Author Comment
fiveandspice March 28, 2013
Thank you Madhuja! It's one of my very favorite spice combos.
aargersi March 28, 2013
Big Congrats Em! I kinda want to vote for you! :-) I will definitely be making this
Author Comment
fiveandspice March 28, 2013
Congrats to YOU! I want to vote for you! Vote trade? ;) And maybe a cookie trade too?! Good thing it's not a running race because I haven't run in months (too much snow, hehe).
aargersi March 28, 2013
We are doing The Electric run Sat night - make that the Electric Amble :-) COOKIE TRADE!!!
cookinginvictoria March 28, 2013
Congrats, f&s, on the finalist nod! So happy to see that this is a finalist!! I was one of the testers for this recipe and this dish is one of the best that I have ever tested for food52. I really like how quickly it all comes together and despite the array of bold flavors and spices, it is super kid friendly. My eight year old daughter devoured it and gave it two big thumbs up. I also love how you seasoned the orzo with olive oil, a good quantity of lemon juice and generous amounts of parsley. I often use olive oil (or butter) when dressing orzo, but the lemon juice and parsley additions are really inspired. I have been borrowing this technique when making other recipes -- such a simple thing but really boosts the flavor of a dish. :o)
Author Comment
fiveandspice March 28, 2013
Thanks so much CIV! I'm so flattered and thrilled to hear that! And super psyched that it was kid friendly, as that's something we're going to have to start having on our radar screen here (eep!). Thanks fo being a tester!
gingerroot March 28, 2013
Hooray Em! Congrats on the well deserved finalist spot. I need to make this soon!
Author Comment
fiveandspice March 28, 2013
Aw, thanks Jenny!! If you do give it a try, let me know what you all think!
drbabs March 28, 2013
Congratulations on being a finalist--this is such a great recipe.
Author Comment
fiveandspice March 28, 2013
Thank you DrB! :)
healthierkitchen March 5, 2013
I love these flavors and I completely agree with your explanation of the "feast" part of this contest. Well said!
Author Comment
fiveandspice March 5, 2013
Thanks so much! It's hard to define feast, but that was my particular way of thinking about it. :)
inpatskitchen March 4, 2013
I love this! We just left a new Greek restaurant in the neighborhood and sampled all these flavors! Bravo!!
Author Comment
fiveandspice March 5, 2013
They're some of my very favorite flavors. Thanks!
aargersi March 4, 2013
You had me at Greek. Then you REALLY had me at lamb. Then at orzo I kind of wanted to propose. But we are both already married. So how 'bout dinner some time?
Author Comment
fiveandspice March 5, 2013
Done! You're on.