Today’s post is for my friend and class-mate Dalou, in Canada. She recently shared a childhood memory from our growing up years in Alexandria, of a “Greek soup with meatballs and lemon”. Here it is: Youvarlakia.
Hoping that it matches every bit of your memory.
My first introduction to this dish was on a cold winter day, over thirty years ago, where I was graciously invited by my friend Kathy to her in-laws for a Sunday lunch. Many a Sunday that winter, saw me back at Kiria Vassiliki’s table, having my first tastes of wonderful home made Greek specialties, a treat that has contributed to my love and appreciation of the Greek culture.
It is important that I mention here that Youverlakia is always made with ground beef. In the recipe below I have substituted the beef with ground turkey. This is ofcourse a personal choice, but I can assure you that it’s every bit as tasty with turkey as it is with beef, and a whole lot lighter.
Also not every Youvarlakia has potatoes and carrots in it. But this is how I first had it, and its how I’ve been making it ever since.
8 cups water
3 potatoes peeled and cut into chunks
3 carrots peeled and cut into chunks
2 bay leaves
1 soupe cube (in this case chicken)
salt & pepper
450 grs ground beef (in this case ground turkey)
3/4 cup round rice (uncooked)
1 small onion finely chopped
2 tbsps parsley
2 tbsps dill
1 large egg
2 tbsps olive oil
salt & pepper
juice of 2 whole lemons
1 tbsp corn starch
Mix ingredients for the meatballs, cover, and refrigirate for a ½ hour. Then shape into small balls.
Combine the ingredients for the soup, and bring to a gentle boil.
Drop the meatballs one by one in the simmering soup, cover and cook for 30mns.
Whisk the eggs, add the lemon juice, mix in the corn starch.
Now go close to the soup, take a ladle full of the hot soup at a time, and mix with the egg/lemon mixture. Add another ladle full of soup and keep mixing, bringing the temperature of the egg mixture gradually up to prevent curdling. Add it gradually to the soupe and tilt the pot around to mix well without braking the meatballs.
Simmer for a few minutes to thicken the soup.
Serve with fresh crusty village bread.