The best thing about mince is its delicious ratio of fat to meat. As the fat melts, an exquisite flavour works its way into every bit of a sauce or dish, giving body, silkiness and essential vitamins and minerals. It’s also affordable and versatile, and at home in all sorts of dishes, from Italian meatballs to Thai stir-fries and spiced flatbreads. Buy mince with a high ratio of fat from a butcher you trust, and witness how it transforms a meal.
Greek lamb, tomato and feta orzo
Gentle spicing and the flavours of bay and oregano give this simple dish a beautiful nuance.
Prep 15 min
Cook 55 min
2 tbsp olive oil
400g lamb mince
Salt and black pepper
2 large onion, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
2 bay leaves
2 tsp dried oregano
200ml red wine
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
1 big handful parsley, roughly chopped
100g feta, crumbled
Warm the oil in a large, deep pan over a medium-high heat. Season the lamb, then, once the oil is sizzling, fry it in two batches until golden. Scoop into a bowl and set aside.
Return the pan to the heat and add the onion, garlic and spices. Season well, and sweat for eight to 10 minutes, until the onion is translucent and soft. Stir in the lamb, herbs and wine, and bring up to a simmer. Cook briskly for three to four minutes, to reduce the wine, then stir in the tomatoes and simmer gently for 30 minutes, until the sauce is thick. Check the seasoning.
Stir in the orzo, then pour in enough water to cover by 2cm – you’ll need about 500ml. Stir again, cover, turn the heat down low and cook for 15 minutes, until the orzo is just tender and has absorbed most of the liquid. Remove the lid, sprinkle over the parsley and feta, and serve with crusty bread.
The simple flex …
Stir cooked butter beans into the richly spiced tomato sauce instead of the lamb mince. Add the feta at the same time as the orzo and water, and bake in a medium oven until cooked through.