This special dish tastes like a warm hug on a cold night. A day’s worries are instantly soothed and put to bed with a bowlful of this golden goodness.
Yourvarlakia are round homemade meatballs popular in traditional Greek cuisine. The name refers to their shape as the similar sounding varelaki means keg or barrel in Greek.
The dreamy accompanying soup is the real star of the show. Avgolemono pronounced av-go-le-mo-no meaning egg-lemon has an exquisite silkiness on the tongue without any heaviness from dairy. The soup is creamy with a zingy tang. It’s comforting qualities will make it a hit with fussy and exotic palates alike.
Biting into a meatball you can savour juiciness from the pork blended with tasty beef and lovely soft rice. Earthy herbs and grated onion provide a wonderful depth of flavour.
This recipe is very simple to make. Allow half an hour to make the mixture and then one hour to cook. You do need to be patient when making the Avgolemono. If you add the soup to the egg lemon mix too fast it can curdle the eggs so what is best is to gently add a ladle then whisk before ladling out another.
I highly recommend using a grater for the onion this makes an enormous difference to the meatballs as they form and hold their shape more. The juice that comes out of the grater and the softer smaller shredded pieces can be the difference between a good cook that dices and a great cook that grates!
If you can select organic meat and eggs the overall impact to your dish in terms of flavour and texture is so worth it. A good organic egg has a lovely orange yolk which in turn will give the soup a wonderful yellow colour.
Serve this dreamy delight with crusty toasted sourdough, parsley, a wedge of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil on top of the soup.
Once enjoyed – Opa! It’s time to retire to the couch with a satisfied full belly.
Yourvarlakia – Greek meatball soup
- 700 grams beef mince
- 300 grams pork mince
- 2 Medium brown onions grated
- ¼ Cup Flat leaf parsley finely chopped
- ¼ Cup fresh dill finely chopped
- 1 cup of medium grain white rice
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 1 Teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour for rolling
Egg-lemon broth (Avgolemono)
- 2 whole egg and 3 egg yolks room temperature
- 1/4 cup lemon juice 2 medium lemons – or more
- 1/4 cup of cornstarch
- Grate the onion using a box grater keep both juices and grated onion. (Grated onion will keep your meatballs together and texture soft).
- Combine beef mince & pork mince in a bowl and roughly mix together with hands.
- Add the grated onion and the juices, parsley, dill, salt, pepper, rice and olive oil and mix well with your hands.
- Roll the mixture into balls forming around 28-30 pieces (use an ice-cream scoop or cookie dough scoop).
- Roll the meatballs in all-purpose flour.
- Put the meatballs in the fridge for 15minutes to firm up, this will help stop the balls from breaking apart.
- Bring 3L of water to the boil add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 Tablespoon of olive oil.
- Turn water down to a simmer, add the meatballs in gently using a spoon to lower them in.
- Simmer meatballs on low for 35-40minutes until rice in center is cooked.
- Turn heat off and let the meatballs and broth cool for 10-15 minutes.
- While broth is cooling start preparing the Egg-Lemon components for the broth.
- Take a large mixing bowl add the cornstarch and lemon juice, whisk together until there’s no lumps. Add the 3 egg yolks and the 2 whole and whisk together.
- Ladle the broth in a slow stream into the bowl of Egg-lemon-cornstarch while whisking the whole time. Allow for intervals in between the ladles to allow the egg mixture to come to slowly come to temperature. (You have to be patient when “tempering the eggs” if you mix the hot broth into the egg lemon mixture too fast it will curdle the eggs).
- Pour the whole Egg-lemon-broth mixture back into the pot, turn the stove heat on low and move your wooden spoon around the broth allowing the mixture to gently heat. This takes around 10 minutes to slowly thicken up. Once the broth is heated through and thickened, serve immediately.
- To serve, drizzle with olive oil, parsley, extra wedges of lemon on the side and crusty bread.
I really love the addition of pork it made the meatballs very soft