April 12th, 2010
Greek Easter just passed and you’d think that after our big, Greek-style, roast lamb dinner (every bite as good as last year) I would have had my fill. But, instead, it made me hungry for more. More lamb. More Greek food.
Giouvetsi (sometimes “youvetsi”) is one of my all-time favorite Greek dishes. A simple baked orzo and meat dish scented with cinnamon and bay leaves, it has a rich, but delightfully unfussy flavor that makes it perfect for the whole family (even very little ones). It’s pure comfort.
Giouvetsi can be made with chicken, beef or lamb and is always topped with grated kefalotyri, a Greek cheese made of sheep and/or goat milk (Pecorino is a great substitute in this case). Though definitely not a quick meal, it’s a straightforward recipe that makes a perfect weekend dinner for family and friends.
(can be served to kids 8+ mos)
1 Tbsp thyme
1 Tbsp dried majoram
juice of 3 lemons
8 cloves of garlic
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 lbs boneless lamb stew meat, cubed (I used shoulder)
salt and pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bell pepper (red or green), chopped
1 c red wine (optional)
1 1-lb box orzo
1 15-oz can tomato puree
3 c chicken broth
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
grated kefaloytri (or substitute pecorino)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In the meantime, pulse thyme, marjoram, lemon juics, garlic and 1 Tbsp olive oil in a food processor until garlic is chopped. Pour over lamb and marinate for about 30 min.
2. Heat remaining 3 Tbsp of olive oil in a large dutch oven (or other oven-proof pot) over medium high heat. Reserve marinade and brown meat on all sides, seasoning with salt and pepper. Be sure not to crowd meat—you may have to brown in batches. Remove browned meat from pot and set aside.
3. Add onion and pepper to pot; stir and cook for about a minute before adding the reserved marinade. Cook until veg is soft and marinade has cooked off.
4. Add wine; cook for about 4 min, until liquid has reduced by half. Add orzo; stir to coat. Then add tomato sauce, broth, cinnamon stick and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Return meat to pot.
5. Remove pot from heat and place in oven. Cook for about 45 minutes, until liquid has been absorbed and the top is golden brown.
6. Serve hot, topped with grated cheese.