Greek Chicken & Orzo Casserole (Giouvetsi/ Youvetsi) is a simple dish full of goodness, which will delight your palate and warm your belly. It's comforting and quite simple, full of fragrant flavours.
What is Giouvetsi/ Youvetsi?
Giouvetsi or also spelt Youvetsi, is a delicious and easy Greek pasta dish made with chicken, beef or lamb in a tasty tomato sauce. It is made either with kritharaki (orzo pasta) or with hilopites.
The name Giouvetsi derives from the Turkish word güveç, which is the name given to ceramic pots. This is an example of the influence Ottomans had on countries, which have been occupied centuries ago. It is not necessary to cook Giouvetsi in such a ceramic pot, but cooking it that way, will bring a feeling of history and tradition to you.
Meat to use
This giouvetsi recipe uses fried chicken thighs. There are also versions of giouvetsi with beef, lamb, seafood etc., but the method for the other variations is different.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
1 1/2 kg chicken thighs
400 gr. orzo pasta
1 big onion, finely chopped
500 gr. grated tomatoes
1 tbsp. tomato paste
50 ml red dry wine
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 bay leaves
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 pinch of sugar
500 ml water
salt & pepper
Place chicken thighs on a big plate, add 2 tbsp. olive oil and season with salt and pepper (both sides).
Place a frying pan over high heat, transfer chicken thighs and sauté for 3 minutes each side or until golden brown. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Place a pot over high heat, add 2 tbsp. olive oil, add the finely chopped onion and sauté. Add grated tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper, cinnamon, a pinch of sugar, bay leaves and wine. Place chicken thighs in the pot and let come to a boil. Then lower heat and shimmer for approximately 20 minutes.
In an ovenproof baking dish, add orzo pasta and transfer chicken thighs with the tomato sauce.
Add 500 ml water, season again with some salt (optionally) and bake for approximately 30 to 40 minutes or until liquids are evaporated.
Serve with extra virgin olive oil, pepper, parsley, feta or grated cheese.
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