Orzo Casserole or else 'Giouvetsi'
As a kid, spending time with my grandma was one of my favourite things in the world. Back then, she was still a 'Household production and Household economy' teacher in high school, and she used to spend every afternoon practicing all the things she was teaching. She's been so active ever since, especially in the kitchen. I would enjoy watching her cook or bake, and I'd always be so eager to help her out in the kitchen as much as I could. Besides love and kindness, she taught me multiple techniques and alternatives to knitting, weaving or sewing, and how to make some of the most delightfully tempting desserts. I learned so much from her and still do. Her wisdom's been priceless for decades now; a never ending lesson. Today, I am a wife myself and I am starting my own family so I want to apply all the things I know from her, and be the best version of myself as she taught me.
When it comes to cooking, subconsciously I follow my grandma's style. She claims there are two kind of cooks. The ones that follow recipes, and the ones that follow their gut. I tend to believe that I fall into the latter category. Whether it's because I am too lazy or spontaneous to stick to a certain recipe, I don't know. But, I always need to make a few alterations on to a recipe! Today, I will be sharing with you a 'Giouvetsi' recipe, a delicious Orzo pasta Casserole -or oven dish.
Preparation time: approx. 15 minutes
Cooking time: 75 minutes
Serves: 5-6 people
Dietary: You can choose between meat/vegan option
5 tbsp(s) olive oil
1 large onion
400g boneless beef leg cut into 2 cm cubes
250 g orzo pasta
1tsp or 2 stick(s) cinnamon
2-3 bay leaves
1/2 tsp cumin
400 g canned tomatoes
2/3 cup red wine
2 tbsp(s) honey
1/2 tsp thyme
1 litter water
Finely chop the onions, quarter the carrots and chop them into cubes. Coarsely chop the leeks and grate the tomatoes in a bowl. Place the casserole over high heat and add 3 tbsps of olive oil. Add the onions and sauté until caramelised before adding the cubes of meat. Let them cook for another 5-7 minutes until they lose their red colour. Add the leeks and stir and sauté for another 5 minutes, until the leeks start to caramelise. Add the chopped carrots and mix all the ingredients. If necessary, add a couple more tbsp(s) of olive oil. Leave them in the fire for a few more minutes before adding cinnamon, bay leaves, cumin and grated tomato juice. Sauté the tomato juice for a few minutes to help remove its bitterness. This also helps to thicken the sauce. Add the wine and let it evaporate before adding the honey to the mixture. Add the can of chopped tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and stir. If needed, add some extra water, lower the heat and simmer for an hour, until the meat is soft and the sauce has thickened. Add the orzo pasta, and 750ml water in the casserole. Season with thyme and let it cook for another 15 minutes. Make sure to mix the ingredients during this time as orzo is very likely to stick on the bottom of the casserole. Turn off the hob and place the casserole lid on with a clean kitchen towel in between. This will absorb any extra water left in the mixture. Leave for 5-10 minutes, until the water is fully absorbed. Serve the dish sprinkled with some finely chopped parsley. Enjoy!