Youvetsi (Lamb, tomato and orzo Greek stew)


It’s been a busy period for me recently and cooking has taken a bit of a backseat. If it wasn’t for the blog, I definitely wouldn’t have been trying new recipes! So thank you readers, for keeping me going and getting me to try new things. And how glad I am of that, or I would never have tried this absolute keeper of a recipe.

I can’t remember the last weekend I was actually at home so we’ve not had much food in recently. I am also always hungry when I get home from work! So I was looking for something that was quick, easy and wasn’t going to need a big food shop on my commute home.

This recipe ticked all the boxes. It said it was 10mins prep, 30mins cooking time and I was definitely done in 40mins or less. The ingredients were generally simple, so I only needed to buy lamb and orzo. And actually, it tasted really good! I had to go back for cheeky seconds. This is one of those gems that’s really quick and looks much more impressive than it is technically to make, so it’s perfect to make when you’ve got people coming over. And I even got to use my Le Creseut pan, which I use for pretty much everything these days.

So some of you probably stopped reading or raised your arms in exasperation at ‘orzo’. I know, I know, one of those random ingredients that can feel like a lot of effort. Let me explain. I first had orzo about 7 years ago on a holiday with friends in Turkey. And oh my, I was absolutely sold. It’s a bit like rice made out of pasta, and it really is the best of both worlds. It’s fairly widely available in bigger supermarkets and of course in speciality food shops. Just a heads up, it is also known as ‘Risoni’ as I found to my confusion when faced with the biggest rice and grain aisle I’ve ever seen in a South London Persian food shop!

Serves 4 (or 3 if you both have loads of seconds, like we did) and makes for delicious leftovers the next day for lunch too.

Ingredients

  • 1 – 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 450g lamb leg or shoulder meat, chopped into large chunks
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped or heated
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, finely chopped (or 1 tsp dried rosemary)
  • 1/2 tsp all spice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 200g orzo, rinsed in cold water
  • 120g spinach
  • 75g feta, crumbled over the top to serve

How to make it…

  1. Heat the oil in a large, deep casserole pan and brown the lamb. Remove from the pan and leave to one side on a plate.
  2. In the same pan, fry the onion and garlic for 5-7 minutes, until they start to soften. Then add the lamb back to the pan, along with the rosemary, allspice and bay leaves. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring well.
  3. Add the tomatoes, stock, honey, salt and orzo. Bring to the boil and then leave to simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Finally, stir the spinach into the casserole until it wilts. Cover, leave to rest for 2-3 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and sprinkle with feta to serve.
  5. Enjoy!


Recipe is another one from a source of recipes that just keeps delivering, the Waitrose magazine! It’s from the March 2017 edition, Page 87 ‘Youvetsi (Greek lamb stew with orzo)’

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