Lamb Orzo with Citrus, Pine Nuts, and Fresh Feta
Updated: Jun 24, 2020
½ lb orzo
¾ lb lamb sausage (Go to a butcher and see what they have. Usually they throw a lot of great middle eastern spices into fresh lamb sausage that are absolutely delicious)
1 carrot, very finely diced
1 shallot, very finely diced
1 knob ginger, grated
5 cloves garlic, grated
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
Fresh feta, to taste (the feta will add a lot of salt and creaminess. Use as much as you would like as a garnish on top of the dish)
1 cup parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp coriander seed, toasted and ground (you should use a mortar and pestle, spice grinder, or the back of a frying pan to crush these spices)
1 tsp sumac (sumac is a middle eastern spice that adds a great acidity wherever it is used. It is one of the primary ingredients in za’atar)
½ cup olive oil
Notes before you begin:
We will be using orzo in this recipe. Orzo is a small, rice-shaped pasta. When cooked, each tiny grain doubles in size and can make the pasta water almost paste-like. If you cannot eat pasta, you can substitute this for rice.
Boil your water and add enough salt so that it tastes like sea water. The orzo will only absorb a little bit of the salty water and it will greatly increase its flavor. Once at a rolling boil, throw in the orzo and cook for 4–5 minutes. Cook for however long it says to cook on the box minus 1 minute. At that point, start tasting every 15 seconds until it is cooked to your liking. Strain and rinse the orzo to get out the starch.
Grate the ginger knob and four cloves of garlic into a bowl and set aside. Finely dice the carrot and the shallot and also set aside. Crumble your feta into a bowl and place in the fridge until you are ready to use. Roughly chop the parsley and place in a bowl. Toast your coriander seeds until fragrant (5–7 minutes) over medium-high heat and crush into a coarse powder.
Toast your pine nuts on a dry pan over medium high heat, adding a little salt as you mix them. Stir every so often until they are fragrant and lightly toasted, then remove from the heat. Be careful not to burn them as burnt pine nuts get bitter.
Add ¼ cup of olive oil to the pan and heat until shimmering. Place the lamb sausage in the pan and press them down with a spatula to flatten them. This will ensure they get brown and crispy. Once browned, flip over and continue to cook and, after a few minutes, break them up in the pan. Clear a space in the lamb so that the oil is exposed and add in the coriander and let it cook in the oil for 30 seconds before thoroughly mixing it back in with the lamb.
Add another ¼ cup of olive oil and clear a small space in the lamb. Add the garlic-ginger paste, coating it entirely in the oil and heating it until fragrant before stirring it into the mixture. Repeat this process with the carrot and shallot before turning the heat to medium and let the mixture cook for 3–5 minutes. Taste and salt to your liking.
After cooking the sauce, remove from heat and add in the orzo, lemon juice, lemon zest, sumac, ⅛ cup of pine nuts, and ¾ cup of parsley, stirring until every piece of the orzo is covered in the sauce. Then, garnish with the remaining pine nuts, parsley, and feta. Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!