Roasted lamb with orzo

There’s a little Greek restaurant tucked into a spot of Capitol Hill in DC that is a favorite of Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who himself is a vegan. I’ve never eaten anything vegan there; instead I favor a little dish of lamb that’s become so delicate it seems to melt as you eat it. I went home and tried to recreate it and I think I’ve come close. The only flashiness at this eatery, which looks like it was decorated in 1974, are the tall flames from the brie flambé, a popular appetizer there. That doesn’t bode well for their smoke alarms, does it?


1 sweet onion, diced

3 sections of garlic, minced

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 small lamb shanks

1 can of whole tomatoes

1/2 cup orzo

3 or 4 red potatoes, chopped, skins on

3/4 cup chicken broth

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon parsley

1/2 teaspoon tarragon

salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350F. Rinse and pat the lamb shanks dry with paper towels and set aside.

Put a Dutch oven on the stove top, and on medium high, heat the oil and brown the lamb shanks.

Add the onion and sauté until it starts to turn translucent, then add the garlic.

Add in the tomatoes and the juices in the can, the potatoes, 1/2 cup of the chicken broth, and spices just as you start to smell the garlic, but before it starts to brown.

Put the pot in the oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Pull out and stir the ingredients around, and add the orzo and rest of the chicken broth, with some salt and pepper to taste.

Cook for another 45 to 60 minutes, until the meat is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.

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