The official title of this dish is actually “Youvetsi”.  It’s so easy to cook, delicious and ticks all the boxes when your acupuncturist tells you to eat more warm, nourishing and blood building foods.   So, if you’re looking for a change from our usual bone broth recommendation, give this a try.

Kids love it and it can be frozen (before adding the rissoni and cheese) to meal prep for lunches or future dinners.  It goes great with brown rice if you are in a hurry and delicious with mash potatoes too.

I’d love to claim this as a family dish but it’s actually a Greek recipe with no family connection at all.  Ironically, it was originally passed on by a friend living in Shanghai from her French neighbour a couple of decades ago!

Since then, it has been passed around most of my friendship group, with many claiming it as a family recipe (one Irish and definitely not Greek friend, even submitting it to the school family recipe book!).

I’m sure you’ll be claiming it as your own soon too….  Here it is:


Lamb Youvetski


  • 1-1.5kg of lamb (shoulder or leg) with the bone in

  • 3 red diced onions (more if you have them and white ok too)

  • 5 garlic cloves (again more if you like!)

  • Approx 800g of good qualities tinned tomatoes (whole tomatoes best, cherry tomatoes if you are feeling posh).  You’ll top up with water or stock but want the sauce to be at least half tomato.

  • Cinnamon stick 

  • 30g of butter

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

  • Rissoni (or short) pasta – approx 200g (depending on how pasta-y you like it).

  • Halloumi – 100-200g cubed (or cheese of your choice – eg feta) 



  • Olives – whichever style you like best.

  • Chilli – flakes or fresh depending on your preference

  • Stock – vegetable, chicken or bone broth to substitute for water.



Find your biggest cast iron dish, add the oil and brown the piece of lamb.  Once golden, remove and sauté the onions slowly with the butter for approx 10 minutes.   Be careful not to brown.  You want to keep the sweet flavour.  Add garlic in the last minutes and then return the lamb to the pot.

Pour in the tinned tomatoes (welcome to use fresh if you have them too).  The tomatoes should at least half cover your lamb.  To cover the meat, add either hot water or stock (vegetable or meat of preference if you prefer and want a richer flavour).  Add the cinnamon stick and bring to a light boil for approximately 10 minutes.  You may also choose to add optional ingredients of olives and chilli here too.  Then cover with an oven proof lid and place in the oven at 150 degrees for the first hour or two, then reduce to around 130 for a few more hours.  I generally cook out for around 6 hours, however, the key is to make sure the lamb is falling off the bone and your home smells delicious.

Remove from oven and remove the bone, cinnamon and any excess bits of fat or sinew.  If you are looking to meal prep, keep the sauce at this stage, refrigerate and portion freeze.

If you are entertaining that night, add the rissoni (you may need a little extra hot water if sauce is a bit thick.  Cook on stovetop for approximately 15 minutes or until the pasta is tender.  If wanting it to be a little special, add some chunks of feta on serving or stir in the halloumi 5 mins before (I don’t worry about pre cooking).  Steamed greens (broccolini, asparagus, beans, snow peas) are an excellent accompaniment.