Greek Kabobs and Orzo Pilaf with the Works
Lamb or beef kabobs, pepper and onions perfectly seasoned and zested with lemon juice make a great dish for entertaining with friends. Serve with orzo pilaf with fresh herbs and greens finished with feta cheese.
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus some for drizzling
- 4 large cloves garlic, grated or pasted
- A scant palmful fresh or dried oregano leaves, finely chopped
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or 1 fresh chili pepper such as Fresno, seeded and finely chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 2 pounds lean leg of lamb or beef sirloin, cut into bite-size cubes
- 2 large mild peppers (frying or bell), cut into large pieces
- 1 large onion, cut into large pieces
- Fresh bay leaves
For the pilaf:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup orzo pasta
- 1 cup long grain rice
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup flat leaf parsley, loosely packed (a couple of generous handfuls)
- A generous handful of fresh dill (about 1/3 cup)
- A generous handful of fresh mint (about 1/3 cup)
- 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 small bunch Swiss chard or spinach, leaves stemmed and chopped
- 2 scallions, whites and greens finely chopped
- 1 cup feta cheese, drained and crumbled
For the kabobs, combine about 1/2 cup EVOO with the garlic, oregano, lemon juice, crushed red pepper flakes and a liberal dose of salt and pepper in a sealable plastic bag. Add meat to marinade and coat; chill a minimum of 2 hours.
Skewer the meat on metal kabobs. Skewer the peppers, onion and bay leaves on a separate rod or two and dress with light coating of EVOO and some salt and pepper.
Pre-heat a double-burner grill pan over medium-high to high heat or a broiler to high heat and arrange the oven rack about 6 inches from the broiler.
In a medium size saucepot with a tight-fitting lid, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the orzo and stir until golden brown and nutty in fragrance. Add the rice, stir to combine then add the stock and bring to boil; reduce the heat to simmer and cover the pot.
Grill or broil the kabobs or brochettes for 12-16 minutes for medium-rare to medium-well doneness, turning occasionally.
In a food processor, combine the herbs for the pilaf with the garlic, lemon juice, about 1/4 cup EVOO, salt and pepper. Pulse until finely chopped.
After the rice has been cooking for 10 minutes, wilt in the chard and stir the scallions into the pot. Cover and cook for 7-8 minutes more, then stir in the herb mixture.
Serve the pilaf on plates or platters topped with feta crumbles. Serve the meat, peppers and onions on top.