lamb orzo with oregano and halloumi chips

Lindsey Bareham

Orzo, the rice-shaped pasta, is called kritharaki in Greece and often used like rice. That’s what I’ve done here, seasoning it with butter and lemon, using it as a base for minced lamb quickly cooked with spring onion, garlic and oregano, the dish finished with thin slices of carrot and diced tomato. A few crisp cuts of salty fried halloumi are a very good optional extra.

serves 2, prep 20 min, cook 35 min

180g orzo (we used 140)
2 tomatoes (we used 3)
1 lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
2 carrots
6 spring onions
2 garlic cloves
250g minced lamb
1 heaped tbsp oregano leaves
¼ chicken stock cube
6 thick slices halloumi

Boil the orzo in plenty of salted water, cooking for about 11 min until tender. Drain the water over the tomatoes. Count to 40, remove tomato skin and halve. Toss the orzo with juice half lemon and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Keep warm. Meanwhile, scrape and finely slice the carrots. Boil in salted water until tender. Drain, reserving 150ml water. Dissolve the stock cube in the water. Trim and finely slice the spring onion and garlic. Soften both in 1 tablespoon oil in a spacious frying pan; about 5 min.

Increase the heat slightly and stir in the lamb, tossing as it browns. Coarsely chop the oregano and add to the pan with the stock. Simmer steadily for about 10 min until creamy rather than wet, fold in the carrots. Scrape the tomato seeds into a sieve over the pan and crush the juice into the meat. Dice the tomato flesh and add to the meat.

Reheat while you reheat remaining olive oil in a small frying pan. When very hot quickly brown the halloumi on both sides. Serve alongside lamb over orzo with a squeeze of lemon.