Giouvets - Youvetsi - Beef Stew With Orzo Pasta - A Traditional, Greek, Sunday Lunch Dish.

Giouvetsi - Youvetsi- Greek beef stew with orzo
Giouvetsi - Youvetsi- Greek beef stew with orzo

It's Sunday, time for the traditional, Greek, family lunch, and one of the most popular Greek dishes; "Giouvetsi", beef stew with orzo pasta (Kritharaki, or, manestra in Greek).

This is the ideal dish to prepare for a busy family day, before setting off for the Sunday morning  "Volta", (Another Greek Sunday tradition, a stroll around town, usually interrupted by a visit to one of the numerous coffee shops).

 The ingredients can be quickly thrown into a casserole dish, or roasting tin, popped into the oven, and left to their own devises for a few hours.

My kind of cooking!

The word "Giouvetsi", means ceramic pot, derived from the Turkish word Guvec, 

 Many Greek dishes are made in just one pot, years ago, when not all Greek families owned an oven, the mid - day meal, was prepared first thing in the morning, taken to the local baker, who, for a few drachmas, would bake it, along with his wares, in his piping hot ovens.

It was not unusual, at around two pm, (Greek lunchtime), to see husbands, carrying home the days lunch, picked up on their way home from the office!

"Giouvetst" is delicious, not only with beef, but, with lamb, chicken, and yes, octopus!

Ingredients for "Giouvetsi" 

1 kg Beef.( Cut into pieces)

500 gr Orzo pasta (Rizoni, Kritharaki. Manestra)

2 Large Onions (Chopped)

2 Cloves Garlic (Chopped)

1 Can Tomato Juice or Tomato Puree (about 450 gr)

Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper

150 ml  Olive Oil 

 Boiling water as needed

Serve with grated Kefalotiri, or Parmesan cheese.

Ingredients for "Giouvetsi"
Ingredients for Giouvetsi - Youvetsi


Pre-heat oven to 180-200 degrees C

You will find some recipes, suggest browning the meat in a frying pan, sometimes along with the garlic and onions.

I have tried this, and can honestly say, it tastes no better this way, than just throwing all ingredients into the dish, and then, straight into the oven.

Why complicate things?

Place beef in an ovenproof  casserole dish, or roasting tin.

Add chopped onions and garlic, tomato puree, salt and pepper, olive oil, add enough boiling water, to cover meat.

Mix together well, if casserole dish doesn't have a lid, cover with foil.

Place in oven for about 3 - 4 hours, or until meat is tender.

About half way through cooking time, check to make sure it's not dried up, add boiling water if necessary.

When meat is tender (3 - 4 hours), remove from oven, top up dish with boiling water, add orzo, stir well and return to oven, uncovered, for about 30-45 minutes, check, and give it a good stir, to make sure it's not sticking to base of dish, every ten minutes or so.

Add more boiling water when needed.

The "Giouvetsi" is ready, once the pasta is soft, not hard in center, or chewy.

There should be plenty of sauce, a bit "Soupy", is a good description!

 So be careful not to let it dry out.


Serve with lashings of grated, kefalotiri or Parmesan cheese, a green, or Greek Horiatiki salad, and of course, a bottle or two of good Greek wine!

Giouvetsti - youvetsi - Greek horiatiki salad,  grated cheese
Giouvetsti - youvetsi - Greek horiatiki salad,  grated cheese

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