Baked Lamb Chops with Orzo (Manestra)


Prep time: 15 mins 
Cooking time: 1 hour
Serves: 4

This is the most requested recipe we ask Mum for, even at the age of 35. She usually has a tray of it ready in the oven for when we arrive home. The first question we ask her when she picks us up from the airport is, 'What's for dinner?' She always answers, 'Your favourite! 'Kritharali' is the Greek word for 'orzo' and it was a staple ingredient in Yiayia's pantry. Once paired with its best friend 'tomato', it becomes creamy and saucy. You can opt for pork chops or chicken marylands; we love both.  


  • 800g large lamb chops  


  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed   


  • 80 ml (⅓ cup) extra virgin olive oil 


  • 1 tablespoon Greek spice mix   


  • Salt flakes and freshly cracked black pepper  


  • 1 red onion, sliced   


  • 1 medium eggplant, chopped into cubes  


  • 660 g tomato passata   


  • 400 g Orzo 


  • 50g Greek feta, crumbled   


  • Fresh oregano leaves  



  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 30 cm x 22 cm x 6 cm baking dish.  



  1. Place the lamb chops in a bowl with the crushed garlic, olive oil, Greek spice mix and salt and pepper and toss to coat the lamb chops.  



  1. In a large frying pan over medium heat, fry the lamb chops for 1-2 minutes each side, until browned. Remove the chops from the frying pan and place into the prepared dish.  



  1. Pour the remaining oil from the marinade into the fry pan and cook the onions for 6-8 minutes, until soft. Add the eggplant and cook for a further 10 minutes until the eggplant is lightly browned and softened.  



  1. Spoon the onion and eggplant into the prepared dish.  



  1. Pour over the tomato passata, along with 500 ml (2 cups) of the boiling water, then transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and reduced.  



  1. Add the orzo around the lamb chops, along with ½ cup (125ml) boiling water, and cook for a further 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, or until the orzo is cooked through.  



  1. Scatter the feta and oregano leaves over the orzo and serve immediately.