Arni Youvetsi/Giouvetsi aka Lamb Baked with Orzo and Tomatoes aka My Favorite Dinner

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I’ve mentioned before that, despite being a lover of food and an, erm, taster of all things, I can boil my favorite dinners down to two things: lahanodolmades and this dish, arni giouvetsi (you-vet-see). Neither of them are particularly fancy or complicated.  They aren’t terribly exotic or packed with unique ingredients.  But they are good. Really good. And part of the reason I love them so much, no doubt, is because of all the nostalgia and comfort that is associated with both dishes.  I ate both quite frequently growing up and, even to this day, when I travel to Michigan to see family, somebody makes one of these two dishes for me because it’s well known how much I love them.  Some things never change. (I won’t get into the time when my grandma sent up a batch of lahanodolmades with my dad and stepmom who, after getting stuck in traffic, finally made it to my place with a casserole dish of some really funky smelling stuffed cabbage.)

Giovetsi is basically a dish made with meat and orzo, cooked together in the oven. Arni means lamb, so you can have different forms of giouvetsi, like chicken and beef.  But as I mentioned in that other post, I don’t make arni giouvetsi very often. I make variations of this dish (with chicken, with beef stew meat, etc.) more often because of the whole only-two-people-living-here-thing.  And I typically do it on the stove top (which actually negates the whole “giouvetsi” thing).  This dish is often made with a shoulder or leg of lamb, which I probably don’t have to tell you are quite large.  Perfectly enough, though, the people at Lava Lake Lamb (who also sent me the ground lamb I used to make my spiced meatballs), sent me a piece of top round lamb and right away, I knew I had to make this dish.  Now, it’s true that top round is quite a bit more tender (and cooks for less time) than the pieces usually used in this long-cooking dish, but I just had to make it.  And it turned out great! Comfort on a plate!

Arni Youvetsi/Giouvetsi aka Lamb Baked with Orzo and Tomatoes aka My Favorite Dinner