- Heat the oven to 350°.
- Season the lamb all over with salt and pepper.
- Place a wide shallow braising pan with a lid (the Staub braiser is ideal) over medium-high heat and add about 2 tbsp. oil. When the pan is hot, add the lamb in batches and sear until browned all over. Set aside to a plate. Lower the heat to medium and add the onion, za’atar, cinnamon sticks, 7-spice mix, and remaining oil and sauté gently for a few minutes until the onions have softened.
- Add the lamb back to the pan and cover with the tomatoes, stock, and date syrup. Season with more salt and pepper and add in the bay leaves. Cover with a lid and bake in the oven for 1.5 hours, until the lamb is very tender.
- Remove the cinnamon sticks and bay leaves, add the orzo, and stir well. Cover and return the pan to the oven to continue to cook for a further 25 minutes, checking once halfway through cooking time to make sure there is enough liquid in the pan.
- Adjust the seasonings to taste, sprinkle the feta and oregano over top, and serve.
*Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend that has many variations. Most commonly it is a mixture of oregano or thyme with cumin, coriander, sumac, and sesame seeds.
**Lebanese 7-spice mix is a spice blend consisting of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, fenugreek, allspice, pepper, and cloves.