"Yiouvetsi can be made with beef, lamb or chicken; the process remains the same. You can even use a whole chicken, or chicken thighs, which I find easier and tastier. It's hearty and comforting and, during winter, should be enjoyed regularly. Cook it for your family and friends. Use a different meat each time to develop your own favourite rendition of the dish."
- 125 ml olive oil (½ cup)
- 1.5 kg beef or lamb fillets, diced
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 400 gm canned crushed tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 litre water or chicken stock (4 cups)
- 500 gm kritharaki (orzo)
- To serve: kefalotiri cheese, finely grated
- 1Heat a third of the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add half the meat and stir occasionally until well browned on all sides (4-5 minutes). Tip the meat pieces into a baking dish to keep warm. Repeat with half the remaining olive oil and the remaining meat.
- 2Wipe the pan and add the remaining olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until translucent (4-5 minutes), then add tomatoes and tomato paste.
- 3Tip your meat back into the saucepan and add the water or stock. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer for about 30 minutes.
- 4Preheat oven to 180C. Pour the meat with all the liquid into the baking dish, add a little more liquid if necessary (you may need up to a cup extra), and bake until the meat is tender (30-45 minutes).
- 5At this stage, pour the orzo into the baking dish, give it a stir and season to taste. Bake covered until the orzo has cooked (10 minutes). Ensure that there is enough liquid for the orzo.
- 6Take out of the oven, scatter the kefalotiri cheese on top and serve hot.
Note This recipe is from Sweet Greek: Simple Food & Sumptuous Feasts ($39.95), published by Melbourne Books, and has been edited.