Kokkinisto me Kritharaki (Beef with Orzo in Tomato Sauce)

Kokkinisto me Kritharaki (Beef with Orzo in Tomato Sauce)

This is another heirloom recipe passed down through the Tiliopoulos family tree. My Giagia Eleni would make this on special occasions because meat, especially beef was hard to come by in the olden days. Since we were children, this was a staple dish my Mom would make on weekends because the cooking process is a bit involved. Much like many of my recipes, you can substituted the beef for another protein source such as; chicken, turkey, lamb or rabbit. You can even make this into a vegetarian meal. Just leave out the meat source and you have a hearty alternative to spaghetti in marinara sauce.


2 lbs. stewing beef, cubed
1 tbsp flour
1 large onion, chopped
3 to 4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp paprika
1/8 tsp cinnamon
2 cups tomato sauce
3 bay leaves
200g orzo
4 cups boiled water

1. Dust the stewing beef with the flour in a mixing bowl. This will help to brown the beef nicely and adds texture to the sauce later.
2. In a deep sauce pan or dutch oven prepare the stewing beef. Brown the beef on all sides. Set aside in a mixing bowl.
3. In the same pan saute the onions and garlic at medium/high heat. Add the seasonings except for the bay leaves.
4. Return the beef to the pan. Lower heat to medium. Allow to saute together for 5 minutes.
5. Slowly add the tomato sauce and bay leaves. Stir together. Lower heat and let simmer for 15 minutes on medium/low heat.
6. Meanwhile boil a pot of water. In a deep casserole dish or baking dish add the orzo with the boiled water. Stir together.
7. Once the beef is done simmering, add that to the orzo. Mix together and bake for 20 minutes in a 425F preheated oven. Cover with a lid. If your baking dish does not have a lid, cover with tin foil.
8. When the orzo is cooked well, remove the lid and stir with the pieces of beef. Orzo has a tendency to expand and lay low in the dish. There should be a fair amount of liquid at this point. Let the orzo stand for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. This is allow the liquid to be absorbed into the orzo, leaving a good amount of sauce.
9. Serve with Greek Salad, crusty bread and Feta.

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