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Greek-Style Beef and Orzo Stew

4 Servings

1 hour 10 minutes 20 minutes active

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In the Greek comfort-food dish called youvetsi, the meat (usually beef or lamb) and orzo share equal status. In our version, the cinnamon-spiced tomato sauce is rich with the juices released by the beef chuck during simmering. We cook the orzo directly in the sauce once the beef is tender so it absorbs plenty of flavor and its starch thickens the stew. Chopped herbs at the end add freshness; we prefer a mix of parsley, dill and mint, but just one or two does nicely.



1 hour 10 minutes

20 minutes active


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Pamela K.

This was delicious and easy to make! I accidentally used tomatoes with green chilies which gave a little heat but overall still great!

Beth L.

This tasted great. But, next time I would be sure to use fire roasted DICED tomatoes rather than the fire roasted crushed tomatoes available at my coop. The dish was very red and we couldn't really see the parts. I also used a lot less water, since my family has a thing about soupy dishes.

John M.

This recipe was excellent! Aside from using venison backstrap that I had on hand, and using a bit less water, I made it as written. Just the right amount of cinnamon was used here, too. Served with Greek potatoes and Greek veggies, I'll definitely be making this meal again in the future. Thanks, Ms. Rackow & Milk Street team !

Mark H.

The description says to add 3.5 cups of water with the 1 cup of orzo. This is in addition to the 28 oz of tomatoes. This was way to much liquid when I made it. It was a soup. Next time I’ll add only 1 cup of water. Flavor was great!

William W.

I just made this recipe for lunch today, and I came on here to make the same comment. Although delicious, it was WAY too soupy. Given all of the other comments, I wonder if there's a mistake in the recipe -- there's no way it can come out looking like the picture when using that much water.. I think reducing the liquid to 1 cup like Mark suggested may be going too far, but next time I make this I think I'll try 2.5 cups of water.

I made my dish with boneless short ribs, and the beef cubes were wonderfully tender. I'd be interest in hearing from somebody who used chuck roast -- the short ribs are very pricey right now.

Lynn C.

Hi Mark and William -

Just want to clarify that when the orzo and water are added the mixture is boiled - uncovered - during that time so the liquid can evaporate. It shouldn't be covered at that time. This might be the cause of the soupy texture. If you are cooking it uncovered and still finding that there is too much liquid, let us know!

The Milk Street Team

William W.

Hi Lynn,

I did the 45-minute simmer covered (as directed), but after adding the orzo and water I definitely left it uncovered the entire time. IMHO, it's gotta be a mistake in the instructions. FWIW, I cooked it in a ceramic-glazed Dutch oven. Also FWIW, I used 2 14.5 oz cans of Hunt's fire-roasted diced tomatoes, including all of the liquid.

William W.

And when I said ceramic coated, I should have said enamel-coated cast iron.

Carolyn M.

Yep just made this and cooked uncovered for 10 min after adding 3.5 cup of water . So I will continue to keep on low and see if it can cook down more