Lamb and Orzo Stew

Orzo stew

By Rachel Manley

Kitchen & Co is a cookbook by the lovely people behind French and Grace in Brixton Village. I’ve already written about how much I like it here, but in case you need a recap, it’s really very good. Delicious brunches, some of their famous salads and weekend lunches to impress your friends.

This recipe is one of my favourites so far, a rich, warming, comforting lamb stew topped off with a cooling mint yoghurt. Don’t skip the yoghurt, it’s the perfect accompaniment. I made this with mutton shoulder from Dombeys in Brixton Market and I cooked it in the slow cooker, transferring it to the hob at then end when I added the orzo. Oh, and I didn’t use lamb stock, just water.

Whatever you do, it’s delicious. So try it and then buy the book.

Lamb and Orzo Stew (reprinted with permission from Kitchen & Co. by French and Grace)

Serves 4

Tender, rich and very hard to stop scooping up by the spoonful. You may sniff at using dried mint in the minted yoghurt but it works far better than fresh in delivering a cooling punch to counterbalance the richness of the stew.

  • Glug of olive oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and skinned
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • pinch dried oregano (or fresh if you can find)
  • Leaves from 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1kg lamb shoulder, cut into roughly 4cm cubes and trimmed of excess fat
  • 400g tin cherry or plum tomatoes
  • lamb stock (see below)
  • 400g squash, peeled and cut into large cubes
  • 200g orzo*
  • Handful of grated parmesan
  • Salt and pepper
  • Minted yoghurt
  • Greek or natural yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Preheat the oven to 160C/gas mark 3. Warm a glug of olive oil in a large flameproof casserole and add the onions, cinnamon sticks, oregano and thyme. Once the onions start to soften, add the lamb and stir. Once lightly browned, add a big pinch of salt and pepper.

Add the tomatoes and top the pan up with stock until the meat is just submerged. Cover the pan and place in the oven for 2 hours.

Forty minutes before the end of cooking time, stir in the squash, re-cover and return to the oven. Twenty minutes before the end of cooking time, do the same with the orzo. Once 2 hours is up, remove from the oven, grate over some Parmesan and leave to cool for 5-10 minutes.

Mix the yoghurt, mint and vinegar in a bowl and serve with the pot of stew.

*Orzo is available in the Nour Cash and Carry. It looks like rice but is pasta and may in fact be labelled ‘rice macaroni’.

Quick lamb stock

If you’re asking your butcher to dice and trim the lamb shoulder for you, ask if you can keep the bones for the stock pot. The same goes for any bones really, and that includes a stripped roast chicken carcass from Sunday’s lunch

Put the bones in a saucepan with a litre of cold water, around 10 peppercorns and 2 large pinches of salt and bring slowly to the boil. Then add any of the following that need using up from your vegetable drawer or herb garden.

  • Leek ends
  • Thyme sprigs
  • Bay leaves
  • Carrots
  • Courgettes
  • Onions
  • Celery
  • Parsley stalks

Simmer for 2 hours, skimming off any froth every now and then. Don’t allow it to boil. Strain through a sieve and use as needed.

Rachel blogs at and Tweets at @rachelfood


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