Giouvetsi (or yiouvetsi/youvetsi) is a classic Greek dish that's simply packed with flavor and warmth. Featuring tender beef, orzo pasta, and a rich tomato sauce infused with aromatic herbs and spices, this dish is perfect for a cozy family dinner or a gathering with friends.
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Few things are more comforting than a hot bowl of beef stew, but Greek giouvetsi really takes it to the next level.
Giouvetsi is a Greek beef stew with orzo (though it can also be made with lamb or even chicken) that’s just perfect for a comforting family dinner.
Traditionally, it is cooked in the oven, but you can make it on the stovetop as well. I personally am in love with this one-pot giouvetsi recipe.
This is one of those recipes where you need a bit of patience for the sauce as the flavors need time to develop, but the end result is so worth it!
Why you’ll love this beef giouvetsi
- Incredibly flavorful and comforting
- One-pot recipe for easy cooking and clean-up
- Ideal for a Sunday family dinner or a gathering with friends
What goes into Greek beef stew with orzo
Olive oil — A high-quality extra virgin olive oil (preferably Greek) is perfect for sautéing the beef and veggies.
Diced beef — You can use any type of beef that is suitable for slow cooking, such as chuck or stew meat. Substitute with lamb shank or chicken if you like.
Onion — Yellow, white and red onions are all good options for giouvetsi. You can also use shallots for a milder flavor.
Garlic cloves — Feel free to adjust the quantity of garlic to your liking.
Red wine — A splash of red wine adds depth and richness to the sauce. If you don't want to use wine, you can substitute it with beef or chicken broth.
Tomato paste — The tomato paste adds a concentrated tomato flavor and helps thicken the sauce.
Chicken stock — A lighter broth like chicken is great in this sauce but you can use beef stock, too if you like.
Orzo — This is a small, rice-shaped pasta that only takes about 15 minutes to cook from dry in the sauce.
Grated Kefalotyri or Parmesan — Kefalotyri is a hard, salty Greek cheese that complements the flavors of giouvetsi beautifully. However, it can be a bit difficult to find outside Greece, so freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano is an excellent substitution.
How to make giouvetsi
Heat 1 tablespoon olive in a heavy-bottomed pot such as a Dutch oven and add the diced beef when the oil is hot.
Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and cook for 8-10 minutes over medium heat until the meat is browned on all parts. You may have to do this in batches depending on the size of your pot, to avoid overcrowding.
When the beef is cooked, remove it from the pot with a slotted spoon and set it aside.
Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the same pot together with the chopped onion and garlic. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until the onion becomes translucent.
Pour the red wine and cook for 1-2 minutes until the liquid mostly evaporates.
Pour the chicken broth and stir well to combine. Add the cooked beef back to the pot and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat, cover the pot with a lid and simmer for 45 minutes.
Stir in the grated Kefalotyri or Parmesan and adjust the seasoning.
Serve hot with some extra grated cheese on top if you like.
Leftovers and storage
- Storing: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
- Reheating: To reheat beef giouvetsi, transfer it to a microwave-safe dish and heat on high for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Alternatively, you can reheat it in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through. You may need to add a splash of broth or water if it looks too thick.
- Freezing: Beef giouvetsi can be frozen for up to 3 months. Allow the dish to cool completely before transferring it to a freezer-safe container or freezer bag. To reheat, thaw it in the refrigerator and reheat using one of the methods listed above. Note that freezing and thawing may affect the texture of the orzo, which may become slightly mushy.
Recipe notes and tips
- When cooking the beef, make sure to brown it on all sides to develop a rich, caramelized flavor. This will also help to create a fond (the browned bits on the bottom of the pot), which will add depth to the sauce.
- To prevent the orzo from becoming mushy, you can cook it separately from the beef and sauce. Cook the orzo according to package instructions, drain it, and then add it to the beef and sauce just before serving.
- Make sure you use a heavy-bottomed pot, such as a Dutch oven, to ensure even heat distribution and prevent burning. A heavy-bottomed pot will also help to retain heat and keep the beef and sauce at a steady simmer.
- Serve the beef giouvetsi with some crumbled feta cheese if you like.
If you liked this beef giouvetsi recipe, you might also like some of my other Greek recipes:
- Avgolemono — Greek Lemon Chicken Soup
- Manestra (Greek Orzo with Tomato Sauce)
- Greek Chickpea Soup with Lemon (Revithia)
- Greek Peas Stew with Potatoes (Arakas Latheros)
- Makaronia Me Kima (Greek Style Meat Sauce)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 ½ lb diced beef
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ½ cup (100 ml) red wine
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 can (14 oz / 400 g) crushed tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cups (500 ml) chicken stock
- 2 cups (400 g) orzo
- ½ cup (40 g) grated Kefalotyri or Parmesan
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive in a heavy-bottomed pot such as a Dutch oven and add the diced beef when the oil is hot.
- Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and cook for 8-10 minutes over medium heat until the meat is browned on all parts. You may have to do this in batches depending on the size of your pot, to avoid overcrowding.
- When the beef is cooked, remove it from the pot with a slotted spoon and set it aside.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the same pot together with the onion and garlic. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until the onion becomes translucent.
- Pour the red wine and cook for 1-2 minutes until the liquid mostly evaporates.
- Stir in the tomato paste and crushed tomatoes together with the nutmeg, bay leaves and cinnamon stick.
- Pour the chicken broth and stir well to combine. Add the cooked beef back to the pot and bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat, cover the pot with a lid and simmer for 45 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaves and cinnamon stick.
- Stir in orzo and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Make sure you stir constantly to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Add some extra chicken stock if it looks too dry.
- Stir in the grated Kefalotyri or Parmesan and adjust the seasoning.
- Serve hot with some extra grated cheese on top if you like.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 549Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 115mgSodium: 566mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 41g
Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator.