Classic Greek Recipes: Lamb Giouvetsi

A classic Greek comfort food recipe, with a perfect balance of flavors centered around the sacred meat-pasta-tomato triptych.

Chef: Nena Ismirnoglou

Preparation & Cooking time: 130'

Serves: 4

Taken from the Turkish word Güveç, which refers to the earthenware cooking pot used in traditional cuisine (similar to a Dutch oven), Greek giouvetsi is a tasty tomato-based meat stew with orzo pasta that can be made with lamb, chicken or beef.

Delicious, filling and kid-friendly, it is a perfect dish for your Sunday table or any other family feast. This recipe uses lamb.


In a bowl, rub the lamb (or other meat) with olive oil, salt and pepper. In a large, deep pan heated on a medium-to-high heat, sauté the lamb pieces for 7-8 minutes until they brown well.

Add the onions and carrots and stir for 4-5 minutes, or until slightly wilted. You may need to add a bit of olive oil.

Add the tomatoes, ouzo/tsipouro, honey, rosemary, salt, pepper and 250ml water, stir and close the lid. Lower the heat and simmer for about an hour until the meat is done.

Meanwhile, in a small pan, heat the butter on a medium heat and sauté the orzo for 5-6 minutes, or until golden.

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

Transfer the lamb with the vegetables and their juice into a Dutch oven. Add the orzo with salt and pepper and stir. Close the Dutch oven with lid and place in oven for 30 minutes.

Remove the lid, add 200ml hot water and cook for 15 more minutes, or until orzo is done. Take the Dutch oven out of the oven and sprinkle with the fresh spearmint./dill. Serve with steamed vegetables.

Originally published in Greek in





  • 1.6kg leg of lamb, with bones, cut into portions
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced into 1-2cm cubes
  • 400gr canned plum tomatoes, blended
  • 90ml ouzo or tsipouro (grappa will also do)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced (or 1.5 tsp dried, ground)
  • 2 tbsp sheep’s butter
  • 250gr orzo, coarse
  • The leaves of ½ bunch fresh spearmint or dill, chopped
  • 80ml olive oil
  • Salt, fresh ground pepper

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