Manestra – Greek Orzo Stew is a classic comfort food from the Greek Isles. Just like the Italian islands – Sicily, Sardinia, etc. – the Middle Eastern influence is strong in the cuisine of the islands. Figs, dates, orange blossom water and smoky spices like cumin, cinnamon, coriander and paprika are more common than the rosemary and parsley dominated cuisine of the mainland.
Manestra is poor man’s food. The main ingredients are orzo and tomatoes and whatever scraps of meat lying about would traditionally be added to it – anything from leftover roast lamb to ground beef or chicken. It is classic comfort food. Although I used Muir Glen canned tomatoes, it can also be made with fresh tomatoes. Just a few simple ingredients and this traditional dish is ready in less than 30 minutes.
I hope you have enjoyed this week’s exploration into Greek cuisine. With the dishes I’ve presented this week, a complete Greek dinner party is ready to be enjoyed.
- Appetizer – Greek Lamb Meatballs with Mint Yogurt Sauce
- Main Course – Manestra
- Dessert – Galaktoboureko – Semolina Cake
This brought me back to my younger days when I was a regular in Astoria, New York City’s Greek enclave of the 90’s. I haven’t had Greek food in quite a while and I forgot how much I love it. I need to start cooking more Greek again!
IN THE MAKING
Ready in under 30 minutes, it’s the perfect #onepotmeal for weeknights!