Giouvetsi is one of those dishes that once you get to know you’ll want to make over and over again. It’s a favorite traditional dish here in Greece, and even our family who eats pasta like 4 times a month (we’re not really into it) Giouvetsi, we do eat, like A-LOT!
So what is it? It’s chunky pieces of lamb that get nicely roasted in the oven and then baked along with a saucy orzo. The tomato sauce is flavored with allspice, bay leaves, and red wine. You can see now why it’s so tasty right?
What Meat Type To Use
Most of the time, Greek Giouvetsi which is pronounced Youvetsi, is made with lamb. But can also be made with chicken, beef, or pork.
And because it is baked in the oven along with the orzo pasta which tends to absorb all juices like a sponge, it is preferably made with parts of meat that contain bone. So you won’t end up with a dry piece of meat.
How To make Lamb Giouvetsi
First, you cook the meat on its own for about 1 hour and a half. Until it softens. You simply add the meat in a pan, with a finger of water, a splash of red wine, salt, and pepper, and cover with parchment paper and aluminum foil on top. This is done to keep the moisture in while the meat is baked, so it gets more tender.
Meanwhile, you prepare the tomato sauce on the stovetop, with plenty of water (remember orzo absorbs a lot). And once the meat is cooked, you add the orzo in the pan, pour the sauce on top and cook uncovered until the orzo is cooked, takes about 30-40 minutes.
A Few Things To Keep In Mind When Making Giouvetsi…
- When using meat that comes from an older animal, it is better to boil or pressure cook the meat first to tenderize it. And keep the water to use in the sauce. Then bake the meat together with the orzo.
- Don’t be afraid of how watery the sauce is going to look like. The longer orzo sits the more it absorbs, even after it’s cooked.
- And for this same reason, it is always better to serve this dish right away.
- While orzo gets baked, it requires a bit of stirring now and then so it won’t get lumpy, or stick to the sides of the pan. Again if you think it starts to get too sticky don’t be afraid of adding an extra splash of water to it.
-Serve it Greek Style in these Terra Cotta Dishes
SERVE WITH ⬇
- Cleansing & Detox Simple Greek Lettuce Salad
- Spicy Baked Feta In Foil
- No-Knead Feta Bread Rolls
- Best Greek Salad
Giouvetsi – Greek Lamb With Orzo
- 2 kg / 4 lb + 6.5 oz lamb shanks or chuck or shoulder
- red wine
- olive oil
- 1 small onion minced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 dried bay leaves
- 5-6 pieces of allspice
- kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 500 grams / 17.6 oz orzo pasta
- Preheat oven to 220°C / 428°F.
- In a deep baking pan add the meat. Cover the bottom of the pan with 1 finger of water and a splash of red wine. Season the meat with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Cover the pan with a piece of parchment paper, and aluminum foil on top so no steam escapes while baking. You can also use a dutch oven or baking dish with a lid if you own one.
- Bake the meat for 1 hour and a half.
- After the 1 hour of baking, start preparing the sauce.
- Using a hand grater, grate the tomatoes in a bowl and discard the skins. Set the bowl aside.
- Heat a splash of olive oil in a cooking pot over high heat.
- Cook the onion and garlic until softened and golden in color.
- Stir in the grated tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaves, and allspice. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes more.
- Pour in 2 liters of water and wait until it starts to boil. Then reduce heat to medium and simmer the sauce until the meat is cooked.
- Remove meat from the pan and set aside in a dish. Add the orzo in the pan making sure it spreads evenly all around. Place the meat on top with its browned side facing down.
- Pour the sauce over the meat and orzo. If your pan isn't deep enough for the whole amount of sauce, keep the remaining sauce aside to add once the first half is absorbed.
- Reduce the oven's temperature to 200°C / 392°F.
- Bake this time uncovered for about 30-40 minutes or until orzo is cooked. In the meanwhile don't forget to add the sauce that remained and to stir the orzo every now and then so it won't get lumpy.
- Serve right away. If you need to reheat make sure you add a splash of water to it.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE…