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Lamb baked with Orzo, Tomatoes and Lemon from The Malouf’s Moorish

2010 February 3

I struggled for inspiration this week and ploughed through 6 books before I found a recipe that made me stop. Why? Perhaps the combo of lamb, orzo, cinnamon, honey, cumin, onion & chilli! Wow!

I also seem to have a sight obsession with lamb at the moment. Not sure why? Perhaps because of it’s suitability to so many exotic flavours?

So I made this dish, and again, it was one I had most of the ingredients for. I’m incredibly lucky that I also live mere steps from my mate Tim at UrbanFoodMarket who has become my one stop shop for awesome meat and from whom I sourced the most awesome leg of Saltbush lamb.

This recipe is perfect for winter comfort food or large gatherings where you don’t actually want to miss out on any of the action as you can start it before your guests arrive and then do the long, slow cooking in the oven after they arrive. Just a note, this recipe appears to feed an army. Halve it, seriously.

This recipe requires an easy wet spice paste that will take you just a minute to make before you get started proper


  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Place the garlic and oil in a saucepan and saute for 1 minute, don’t let it get brown. You want to be able to smell it and for the cloves to soften slightly.
Put the garlic into a mortar with the coriander and the salt and grind to a thick paste. Spoon into a jar. It will keep for up to 2 months in the fridge.

Lamb Baked with Orzo, Tomatoes and Lemon from Greg and Lucy Malouf’s Moorish

  • Olive oil (recipe calls for 60ml, I used only enough to wet the onions)
  • 1.5kg lamb leg, cut into even pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 large onions, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon Taklia (see recipe above)
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 preserved lemon, skin only, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 chillies, seeded, scraped and roughly chopped
  • 2 x 400g tins tomatoes (I use chopped or crushed tomatoes)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Juice of 1 lemon (I had no lemons and used a lime)
  • 1-1.5 litres of stock or water
  • 500g orzo (I used risoni, same thing)
  • 150g Haloumi, grated (I didn’t use this)

Preheat oven to 180°

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, season the lamb pieces with salt and pepper (I forgot to do this), quickly brown the meat in small batches then add to large casserole dish (with lid). Once you’ve done all the meat, add the onions to the frypan. Add the Taklia and cook until the onion softens. Add the paprika, preserved lemon (I only had a quarter of a preserved lemon left, so chucked in the lime I had from juicing whole), honey and chillies and continue to cook. That’s the hard part done.

Tip the onion mixture on top of the lamb in the casserole dish and stir through. Pour in the tinned tomatoes, add the cinnamon, lemon juice, and half the stock. Jack up the heat, and get it bubbling. Put the lid on and put it in the centre of the oven for 40 minutes.

After 40 minutes remove from oven, add the orzo (risoni), and another 500ml of stock, mix well and place back in the oven without the lid, for about 20 minutes. Check it periodically so it doesn’t stick. At the end of the time, check that the orzo is cooked and the lamb is tender. If it’s not ready, add some more stock, and cook for another 10 minutes.

Remove from oven, and if you’re going to add the haloumi, turn on your grill to high. When it’s super hot, sprinkle the casserole with the haloumi and grill till it melts. It will be much easier to do it in individual serves depending on your grill.

Serve and enjoy!

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14 Responses leave one →
  1. February 3, 2010

    Oh man thank you so much for posting this recipe. This looks absolutely amazing and I’ll try it out in the next week… the weather’s cooled down enough for slow cooked food!

  2. February 3, 2010

    Oh my, that looks delectable, especially that last photo that is so closeup my mind is tricked into thinking it’s coming towards my mouth 😛
    .-= Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella´s last blog ..All About Airline Food: Behind The Scenes at Emirates airline =-.

  3. February 3, 2010

    Mmmm…the much talked-about dinner has finally made its appearance. And YUM!
    .-= mademoiselle délicieuse´s last blog ..Epicure Recipe Card #9: Grilled Chicken with Salsa Verde =-.

  4. February 4, 2010

    That looks delicious.

  5. February 4, 2010

    I have been eyeing off that recipe in Moorish for a while and seriously have to make it now. Bultarra lamb is great isn’t it?
    .-= Joanne @ secondhelping´s last blog ..I’ve done a lot, but I still want more =-.

  6. February 5, 2010

    Really hate that you have Bultarra lamb virtually at your front door; I have to wait for the right farmer’s market to roll around, which always seems an eternity. Really like where your inspiration led you. Feed an army, yeah, got one of those.

  7. February 5, 2010

    What a gorgeous recipe, and mouthwatering photos! I’d include the haloumi, I think, because I like salty.
    .-= Belle@OohLook´s last blog ..Hot dang – a fast Beef Rendang =-.

  8. February 6, 2010

    I wish I struggled for inspiration like you do! Beautiful presentation and looks delish!
    .-= joey@FoodiePop´s last blog ..Bistro Lilly (Modern French/British) – Sydney =-.

  9. February 7, 2010

    Ahhh looking very nice and yummy! I’ve got to admit, I don’t really know many recipes with Lamb. I’m intrigued to try this!
    .-= Yas @´s last blog ..Tacky Karaoke night at Mizuya =-.

  10. February 7, 2010

    mmm, that looks fantastic!!
    .-= jfox´s last blog ..More Ottolenghi love: Roast Aubergine with Saffron Dressing =-.

  11. February 9, 2010

    Sounds like a great flavour combo – fannnceee 🙂
    .-= Ladybird´s last blog ..Polenta rounds with wilted spinach and roast mushrooms =-.

  12. February 10, 2010


    We’ve been following your food blog for a while now and have been inspired to start one of our own!
    Here is the link to our blog
    Please pop by when you have time!

    ps: that looks absoultely delicious! making our tummies rumble >< must try the recipe soon! Love, L & J xx .-= Nomnomnibblies´s last blog ..Chikyu – Ya Japanese Cuisine =-.

  13. February 10, 2010

    OOo. Orzo. That was a new one on me – thanks!

  14. Dee permalink
    February 8, 2012

    Made this tonight after reading the recipe on your page – delicious!! Just wondered if it was cumin or paprika in the recipe? Your first paragraph said cumin and the recipe sweet paprika – I played it safe and added a little of both 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration.

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