Giouvetsi With Veal (Μοσχαράκι-γιουβέτσι)

Worth a second look: same recipe as when I first published this very popular Greek dish back in October 2007 with updated photos today, enjoy!

This is another traditional Greek dish and it’s still often made in an earthenware pot, a kind of glazed terracotta vessel and baked in the oven.

Like many Greek dishes, Giouvetsi is a one-pot meal and in the old days this would have been baked in a home’s wood burning oven. There were also many instances where a home did not have an oven but each village had at least one bakery supplying bread for the guaranteed demand of the villagers.

It was quite common for a family to lug the day’s dish over to the bakery and have dish cooked in the baker’s oven. Afterall, the day’s bread had already been baked & sold and what was the breadman to do with a still burning oven?

In the early 80’s, I was fortunate enough to witness this communal tradition of taking your meal to be cooked off at the bakery. It’s kind of backwards but I wish it still existed today.

There are many variations on Giouvetsi. It’s usually with veal, rooster, beef, rabbit, prawns and it’s accompanied by a Krithiraki (a Greek orzo).

Once again, I employ the use of a pressure cooker to speed up this simple dish. I say simple because the ingredients are quite basic but it’s one of those dishes that tastes way more complex. It’s another testament to using good ingredients.

If you don’t have a pressure cooker, one could boil/braise the meat but it will likely take about 90 minutes just to soften your meat. The pressure cooker will cut your time in half. I fill the pressure cooker with the pieces of veal shoulder, enough water to cover the meat and some salt. That’s it!

Giouvestsi With Veal (Μοσχαράκι-γιουβέτσι)

(serves 4-6)

1 1/2 lb. veal shoulder, cut into pieces
2 cups of water
1/2 cup of olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
2 cups of krithiraki or orzo
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 cup of pomodoro (jarred tomato sauce)
6 cups of veal, chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
freshly grated Kefalotyri or Romano cheese

  1. Season your veal with salt and pepper. Pour your water into the pressure cooker and place your veal in. Secure the lid and crank the heat to high. As soon as your seal forms, you will hear the cooker whistling. Turn down your heat to half (medium) and simmer the meat for 30 minutes. Take your cooker off the heat and release the pressure according to mfgr.’s instructions (for those without a pressure cooker, simmer in a covered pot for 90 minutes).
  2. In a large pot with medium high heat, add your olive oil and your onions, garlic and red pepper and sweat for 5-6 minutes or until the onions have softened.
  3. Now add your krithiraki and paprika and stir to coat and toast the pasta (for about 5 minutes).
  4. Add the tomato sauce, and stock (from the pressure cooker) (3 to 1 ratios of liquid to pasta) and bring to a boil while stirring. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  5. Once everything has come to a boil, add your veal, mix well and pour everything into a large casserole dish and bake in a preheated 375F oven for 45 minutes or until most of the liquid has absorbed and your top is golden brown.
  6. Let stand for 10 minutes and serve in large bowls with freshly grated black pepper and Kefalotyri cheese. Serve with a Naoussa Thymiopoulos red.

© 2011 – 2015,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

30 Comments for “Giouvetsi With Veal (Μοσχαράκι-γιουβέτσι)”

Ivy

says:

Hi, Peter, it’s Ivy (you wrote to me earlier) and saw your giouvetsi which looks yummy. What I like best though are your descriptions. I am not really good with words so I avoid making the descriptions and stick to the recipes. Like your photos too. Would me more than glad to help if ever you want a recipe either Greek or Cypriot.

Peter M

says:

Ivy, thank you for visiting…I look forward to trying some of your Cypriot dishes…kali orexi!

Valli

says:

A wonderful homey dish Peter. I think on some of the smaller islands and communities these traditions might still exist. When I was in Metsovo on the mainland I saw people come out of their homes with huge trays of cooked food to bring to a feast. It could have been a wedding or a some other kind of celebration. I wish I had have had the nerve to go and find out for myself.

Peter M

says:

Val, I’m sure that some villages still use the baker’s oven for home cooking but this is sadly disappearing from the Greek landscape, just as outdoor cinema’s are becoming extinct.

Anonymous

says:

Yet another excellent traditional dish. My grandparents had ovens so this is the first I’m hearing about villagers using the local bakeries’ ovens to cook the day’s meal. Interesting little factoids you’re giving us.

K

Laurie Constantino

says:

Hi Peter: Is the smoked paprika your twist, or is that something used in Northern Greece? It’s an interesting idea! I’m always interested in variations on traditional dishes.

Maryann@FindingLaDolceVita

says:

Peter, Where have I been while you’ve been cooking up a storm? And everything looks delicious! You need to open your own restaurant.

Peter M

says:

Laurie, it’s a northern thing to an extent. We get this fabulous smoked paprika from my dad’s village and it’s come in handy for many dishes…including this Giouvestsi.

If you like things a little smokey, try a dash.

Kevin

says:

This looks really good. I have never tried braising veal shoulder it sounds like it would be super tender and flavourful. Bookmarked

Laurie Constantino

says:

Is the smoked paprika from your dad’s village similar to the Spanish smoked paprika, which is readily available. I love the Spanish stuff, although a little definitely goes a long ways.

Made the Italian wedding soup last night — it was great, thanks.

Peter M

says:

Laurie, I’d say the 2 paprikas are comparable.

As for the soup, that’s wonderful that you enjoyed it! It’s easy and tasty.

Christine

says:

This is one for my files, Peter. Would lamb work as well as the veal? If I were to use prawns as well, how do you prepare those and when are they added?
Thanks for all your great cooking!

Peter M

says:

Christine, lamb would work perfectly well (my omission). As for prawns, there are many dishes called Giouvestsi, due to them being baked in the earthenware. I would saute some onions, garlic, toast the orzo and simmer the orzo, add the tomato sauce, herbs of your choice and place some jumbo shrimp on top and bake until the seafood is cooked through.

says:

Mε όποιο κρέας κι αν το μαγειρέψεις το γιουβετσάκι, γίνεται πεντανόστιμο!!
Ωραία συνταγή Peter!
Φιλιά, καλό απόγευμα!

says:

Nice dish, of course, but what I found interesting was the tidbit that a home without oven went to the local baker to cook their dish. We are certainly spoiled in this day, age and location.

says:

I lived in Pangrati in Athens from 1990 to 1998, and saw people taking foil-covered dishes to the bakery mid-morning every day, so the old way was still followed in the capital city relatively recently.

Tina

says:

Hi Peter,

This looks delish, have tried making giouvetsi once many years ago when I first moved back to Greece, personally love the idea of it slow cooking, but of course that doesn’t work well for someone with a busy schedule.

Just wanted to let you know when I was in the US (NY), I remember my Mom using Kritheraki called Rosa Marina-and was pretty easy to find any of the supermarkets.

I just recently came across your site, so plan to try some of your recipes soon-your pierogi pizza is what enticed me!

Vangelis

says:

Delicious recipe Peter, I am cooking it for the family today. As you’ve already mentioned there are many versions of giouvetsi and my main aromatic was cinnamon. This time I will use the smoked paprika, hopefully this will give to the dish the taste of food cooked in a traditional wood fired oven.

Mike Blough

says:

Thank you for the recipe. Delicious flavors. How much total liquid (stock from the pressure cooking process plus added stock plus tomato sauce) goes into the mixture prior to cooking in the oven? ( “Add the tomato sauce, chicken stock and veal stock (from the pressure cooker)”)

Also, I used leg of lamb, 6 oz pieces and pressure cooked for about 12 minutes. By the time the lamb was cooked with the orzo in the oven the lamb was really dry/over-cooked and I couldn’t seem to add enough liquid to keep the orzo moist enough to not be starchy or sticky. The oven was set at 325 degrees.

says:

Mike, When making the stock, you will have leftovers, to which you can freeze for future use. As the recipe states, you will need 6 cups of hot stock (3 to 1 ratio).