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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Thanks For The Good Tip

It's always helpful to have friends who share your food tastes.  Let's face it, not everyone is going to get excited about a recipe for a Greek Lamb Stew, and I accept that.  Fortunately for me, my good friend Heidi saw this recipe on Food52.com, mentioned it to me, then made it, and passed on her notes to me.

Just as an aside, two things about Heidi.  Heidi reads the comments and reviews people leave for everything.  She's actually one of those really well informed consumers, something to which I only aspire.  When Heidi goes out to purchase a major appliance, she actually goes armed with data.  She knows what she's looking for.  Unlike me.  I know what I need, and even what I want, but too often I get swept up in all the other stuff.  Whereas, Heidi may want certain features on her dryer, I get distracted by the color which, let's face it, should be a major determinate in absolutely nothing.

Heidi is also the best internet searcher I know.  Honestly, the woman can find absolutely anything you could ever want for less than you ever thought possible.  Truly, it's a gift.  She taught me the ins and outs of Priceline.  While I haven't gotten Ted onboard with the whole idea of picking a hotel without knowing exactly what you're picking, I'm game and I'm ready to go should we need an unnamed hotel in New York City in the near future.  Heidi taught me well.

In any case, Heidi made this "Greek" Lamb with Orzo dish before I did.  She also read all the comments  from others who had already made it, and incorporated those changes.  She passed it all on to me, and I made it.

Once again, Heidi did the legwork and I reaped the benefits.  Thank you Heidi!

Recipe:  "Greek" Lamb with Orzo
(Originally posted on Food52.com)


1 pound ground lamb
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons dried oregano
3 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
28 ounces can of whole tomatoes, drained and smooshed with your hands (fun!)
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 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.

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. Cook the smooshed tomatoes in the spices, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

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).

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. 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. 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.

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