4 and 1/2 pounds boneless leg of lamb, fat trimmed and cut into big chunks
1 large onion, finely diced
4-5 cloves peeled garlic
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 (28 ounce) can pureed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon honey
1 bay leaf
6-8 cups water
3/4 cup - 1 cup orzo pasta
(optional: beans, chick peas instead of orzo)
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
Crumbled feta or shredded parmesan cheese for garnish
In a large pot, heat olive oil until very hot. Add the lamb chunks in three batches and brown evenly on all sides. About 4 minutes. Do not add all the meat together at once or it will not brown. Place the browned meat onto a plate and set aside.
Add the onions and garlic cloves to the pot and cook over medium low heat for about 15 minutes or until soft and golden. Mash the garlic cloves once they are soft. This eliminates the extra step of mincing garlic.
Add the meat back to the pot along with the carrots, celery, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, honey, pureed tomatoes, tomato paste, and water. Bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook about 1 and ½ hours or until the meat is soft.
Add more water to the pot. About 4 cups and bring to a boil.
Add the orzo along with a teaspoon of salt and any extra seasonings if needed. Boil approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook until the orzo is al dente.
Add the chopped parsley and mint. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary.
Serve with some toasted bread and feta.
Tips: This meal can be prepared a day ahead. If making ahead of time, do not add orzo. The orzo may be added right before serving to avoid overcooking it.
Make extra as it freezes beautifully.
As it sits in the pot it thickens. You may add about ½ -1 cup of boiling water when reheating this soup to keep its consistency soup –like.