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Giouvetsi Recipe: Greek Traditional Beef Stew with Orzo

This giouvetsi recipe is an all-time classic Greek food! Giouvetsi, (or youvetsi), is a popular Greek traditional beef stew dish that is ideal for Sunday or any festive occasion. I grew up in a village in Southern Greece and my mother made it quite often. I remember one of our lovely neighbors had a stone oven and my mother always cooked giouvetsi there. This was more than cooking our food; it was a lovely social event as other friend families baked their food with us.

For this giouvetsi recipe, you need either with chicken, lamb or beef. Regarding pasta, you can use orzo (kritharaki) or hilopites, which is a Greek variety of egg noodles in 1cm-long squares, and you can find at Greek food stores. Although this youvetsi recipe is easy to cook, it requires some preparation and cooking time.

In this giouvetsi recipe, I cooked beef with orzo pasta. When served, don’t forget to top it with trimmed mizithra cheese. It really makes the difference!

Giouvetsi Recipe

Beef Giouvetsi Recipe – Ingredients

  • 1 kg of veal (shoulder), cubed
  • 2 medium red onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of sweet paprika (optional)
  • 1 glass of red wine
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 cup of Greek olive oil
  • 250 g of orzo pasta (kritharaki)
  • 3 cups of water
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 100g of mizithra cheese, grated

Beef Giouvetsi Recipe – Instructions

  1. Start this giouvetsi recipe by taking a big pot and adding the chopped onions and garlic.
  2. Sauté for 5 minutes over medium-low heat.
  3. Add the beef portions and turn up the heat.
  4. Brown beef portions on all sides. Add the red wine.
  5. Wait for 5 to 10 minutes for the wine to evaporate.
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, and water. Water should cover the beef.
  7. Add the cinnamon stick, sugar, pepper, and sweet paprika.
  8. Simmer for 1h to 1 1/2h or until beef veal becomes tender. Add hot water if needed.
  9. Add salt towards the end. Taste to see if more salt is needed.
  10. If beef is not tender, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Cook for extra 10-15 minutes.
  11. Preheat oven to 170º C.
  12. In the meantime, take a pot. Add water and boil orzo pasta for 2 minutes.
  13. Drain orzo and get it coated with some olive oil.
  14. Add the beef to baking pan. Remove cinnamon stick.
  15. Add pasta to pan. Pour beef sauce over beef and pasta. This should cover the pasta. If not, add hot water.
  16. Cover pan with some aluminum foil.
  17. Bake for 30-40 min until orzo is cooked.
  18. Remove aluminum foil. There should be some liquid sauce.
  19. If not, add some hot water. Cover again with aluminum foil. Put back in the oven for another 15 minutes.
  20. Serve and top with mizithra cheese.

I hope you like this beef giouvetsi recipe. Check out my blog for more traditional Greek recipes. Enjoy!

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