Lamb Youvetsi

PinExt Lamb Youvetsi

There are certain Greek meals that have a reputation for bringing back memories, youvetsi is one of them. And although I was not raised Greek, this is one of those meals that takes my husband back to his childhood just by smelling it. Especially when made in the crock pot, the aromas of lamb, tomato, and cinnamon fill the house with a comforting warmth that brings a permanent smile to his face.

The first picture is from a time I made youvetsi in Greece using a dutch oven, it turned out good, but this time using a slow cooker it was incredible.

We just got a crock pot and I don’t know how I have lived without one for this long. Especially now that we are both working the American dream of 8-5pm (hahaha), we have very limited time to cook. But with the convenience of a slow cooker, I can either cook a good, healthy, homemade meal while we are sleeping or start it when we leave to be ready when we return home.

And the best part is that since it cooks on low for 8 hours, the lamb literally falls off the bone and melts in your mouth. The hints of cinnamon compliment the tomato sauce with the tender orzo pasta giving it a taste of a meal that you slaved over for hours.

youvetsi above Lamb Youvetsi

Top it all off with some kefalotyri or a good myzithra or romano grated cheese, and serve with some fresh bread.
youvetsi Lamb Youvetsi

Lamb Yiouvetsi Recipe:

1 – 2 lbs. lamb, I used 2 lamb steaks
3-4 T. olive oil
1 medium – large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 can chopped/diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups broth (vegetable or beef) …  double the liquid if using a dutch oven! 
1/2 cup red wine
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
8 oz orzo pasta
ground pepper and salt
kefalotyri or myzithra or good romano

Generously season your meat with oil and salt/pepper. Heat the oil in a skillet on medium high, or an indoor grill if you have one and you will be using your crock pot. If you will be using your dutch oven, you can simply heat on the stove while you preheat your oven. You want to saute your onion until translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Add your minced garlic and tomato paste until aromatic, and at this point you want to sear your lamb to lock in the juices. Cook 1-2 minutes on each side and then remove from the pan, now it is time to deglaze your pan for ultimate flavor.

Increase the heat to high in your skillet, and measure out your red wine. Lightly lift the skillet in your non dominant hand and add the wine with the other. Return to the heat for a minute or so as it will begin to boil very quickly. With a rubber spatula or wood spoon, scrape the sides of the pan to get all the good stuff that might be trying to hang on.

From here, you will either add everything to the crock pot, except the orzo; or you will return everything (except the orzo) to your dutch oven and add to a preheated oven of 300 – 325°.

For a crock pot, cook for 3-4 on high, 7-8 hours on low; for a dutch oven, cook for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. With either method, you are going to want and add the orzo about 30-35 minutes prior to the finished cooking time. Increasing the heat in the oven to 350, and stirring, adding more liquid if necessary or leaving uncovered if you think there is too much liquid.

Serve pieces of the lamb on a bed of orzo and top generously with grated myzithra or romano cheese.

youvetsi2 Lamb Youvetsi
You can always use beef but I really think it is worth saving this recipe for a time you can find lamb on sale or maybe a special occasion.
I hope you will try this recipe sometime and let me know what you think. Tomorrow is Clean Monday and the Greek Orthodox version of Ash Wednesday in preparation for Lent. If you don’t know much about this tradition in Greece and are curious, check out a past post I have written here.
Kali Orexi and I hope you all have a very blessed week!
PinExt Lamb Youvetsi

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3 Responses to “Lamb Youvetsi”

  • [...] and maybe for a Sunday for a family lunch. Greeks are not eating Pastistio, Moussaka, or Youvetsi every night of the week. Rather, you’re more likely to find a more true Mediterannean Diet [...]

  • Amy:

    Yum. I just got a crock-pot a few months ago and have been needing some good recipes. I’ll have to give this a shot sometime if I’m feeling adventurous or feel like reminiscing about Greece :-)

    Have you been able to find kefalotyri in the US or is romano the closest thing?

    • Since we live in north Clearwater just below Tarpon, there are several places to buy Greek products like kefalotyri. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen it anywhere else. A friend once told me that Costco sometimes carries it, but I have yet to come across it :)

      Let me know how you enjoy this recipe. I love our crock pot so I will be adapting many more recipes to share as well, would love any great ones you stumple upon or try out!!!

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Hi! My name is Jacquline. Welcome to my blog. I hope you will find some delicious Greek food recipes and enjoy the read along the way! Kali Orexi :)


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