Originally made with chicken, lamb or beef, giovetsi is a one pan Greek dish where everything is baked together to bubbling perfection to create an aromatic and delicious meal.
The orzo is toasted in the pan before adding the liquid to give a wonderfully nutty flavour. I have used halloumi to top and sausage meat to create meatballs purely because that is what I had but as with all my recipes, feel free to substitute for whatever you prefer. You will still end up with a gorgeous dinner!
Sausage meat from 2 sausages, casing removed
½ large onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp breadcrumbs
1 pinch of rosemary
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp tomato puree
pinch of ground cinnamon and oregano
½ cup of orzo
1 ½ cups of chicken stock
Add the sausagemeat, breadbrumbs, seasoning, rosemary and half the onion in a bowl and mix well. Shape the mix into small meatballs. (I made 8).
Pre-heat the oven to 180C
In a frying pan, over medium heat, add 1 Tbsp oil and gently fry the sausage balls on all sides until browned all over. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add your onions and peppers to the pan and sauté for 5-7 minutes or until softened.
Add the Orzo and stir for a few minutes to toast the kernels.
Add the hot stock, tomato puree, cinnamon and oregano and bring to a boil while stirring. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Transfer to an oven-proof baking dish and add your meatballs.
Fry a few strips of halloumi in the same pan until lightly browned and top the orzo with these then bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes or until most of the juices have been absorbed and the top is golden brown.
Amazingly tender, pull apart lamb is slow roasted together with potatoes and onion that absorb all the wonderful marinade and meat juices as they cook.
6 garlic cloves
2 tbsp. roughly chopped oregano
1 tbsp. roughly choppedrosemary
zest 1lemon and juice of 2
½ tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbsp.olive oil
400ml chicken or lamb stock
2kg leg of lamb
1kg Desiree potatoes, halved or quartered
1 or 2 onions, peeled and quartered
5 bay leaves
Crush together the garlic cloves and 1 tsp salt using a pestle and mortar. Add the herbs, lemon zest, cinnamon and some black pepper then stir through the olive oil. Using a sharp knife, create lots of holes all over the lamb, and rub in the paste, pushing it deep into the holes. Transfer the lamb to a large food bag, pour in the lemon juice and marinate overnight.
The next day, take the lamb out of the fridge 2 hours before you want to cook it. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Lay 2 long pieces of baking parchment on top of 2 long pieces of foil – one widthways, the other lengthways to form a cross. Pop the potatoes in the centre of the parchment and toss with the remaining oil and some seasoning. Bring up the sides of the foil, then pour the marinade from the lamb over the potatoes and throw in the bay leaves. Pour the stock into the pan. Set the lamb on top of the potatoes and scrunch the foil together tightly to completely enclose the lamb. Lift into a roasting tin and roast in the oven for 4½ hrs until very tender.
Remove tin from the oven and increase the temperature to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Unwrap the parcel and scrunch the foil and parchment under the rim of the tin, baste the lamb with the juices and return to the oven for a further 20 mins until browned. Remove the lamb from the tin, wrap in foil and rest.
Drain most of the stock and juices from the pan. Set aside. Turn the potatoes over and return to the oven for 30 minutes to brown then season with salt. Serve the juices, meat and potatoes with a fresh salad.
You can’t plate this up politely. The cheesy topping goes deliciously gooey and stringy so just put it in the middle of the table with a salad and loads of crusty garlic bread and let everyone wrestle out a portion.
The sauce is delicately flavoured with paprika and the tiniest bit of chilli heat which mellows as it bakes to give a wonderful depth of flavour. Teamed with oozing cheese and chunky veg, this is a real luxurious meal.
For the meatballs:
250g lean beef mince
250g lean pork mince
1 small red onion, grated
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp fennel seeds, crushed
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp smoked paprika
For the sauce:
Olive oil, for frying
1 small red onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 green or red bell pepper, chopped
1 red chilli, sliced
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
200g mozzarella (Block form), grated
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
For the meatballs: Put the onion, beef and pork mince, breadcrumbs, fennel, oregano, smoked paprika, garlic and plenty of seasoning into a bowl. Add a splash of milk to soak up the breadcrumbs and combine. Shape into 20 meatballs. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in an ovenproof frying pan and brown the meatballs in batches. Once browned, set aside on a plate.
For the sauce: Add the chopped onions to the pan with another Tbsp oil. Fry gently until soft then add the garlic, pepper and chilli and fry for another couple of minutes.
Add the passata, smoked paprika and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a simmer and allow to bubble gently for 20 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened.
Add the meatballs back to the sauce.
Mix 150g of the grated mozzarella with the mascarpone and a little seasoning. Spoon the cheesy mix over the meatballs in dollops and scatter over the remaining mozzarella.
Heat the oven to 190C. Bake for 30 minutes until the meatballs are piping hot and cooked through and the cheesy top is golden and bubbling. Let the dish cool for 5 minutes before spooning into nice large bowls and diving in with some crusty garlic bread.