Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Giouvarlakia: Greek Lemon Soup with Meatballs

Giouvarlakia is a classic delicacy from northern Greece made of meatballs and rice in a delicate and creamy lemon Avgolemono sauce. The name Avglolemono, or Greek lemon and egg soup, comes from its two main ingredients: egg (avgo) and lemon juice (lemoni). Light and creamy in texture with a delicate tangy flavour, this delicious egg and lemon soup becomes a rich base for these tiny fragrant little Greek meatballs, or Giouvalakia, made from either ground veal, beef and pork, or for a healthier low fat option, chicken and turkey. This aromatic dish, in addition to being quick, healthy and affordable, is delicious in it's own right, but becomes a meal in itself with the magical combination of these voluptuous little meatballs bathed in a thick and creamy Avgolemono lemon sauce. It is easier than you think and more delicious than you can imagine!

Giouvarlakia Avgolemono Soup
Serves 4-6


2 slices whole wheat bread, crusts removed, soaked in milk & squeezed dry
1 1/2 lbs ground lamb or 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1/2 cup rice, uncooked
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp celery, chopped
1 tsp crushed dried mint flakes
1 tsp fresh dill, chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 quarts chicken stock

Egg-Lemon Sauce:
3 eggs, separated
Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups meatball broth

Mix the bread, ground beef in a bowl, rice, parsley, celery, mint, dill, oregano, olive oil, salt, and pepper, and knead thoroughly, mixing well. Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a large pot. Keeping the stock boiling, shape the meat mixture into little round balls, about the size of walnuts, and drop gently into the boiling stock. Continue boiling for about 20-30 minutes, and then take off the heat.

In a medium bowl, beat the whites of 3 eggs until frothy, but not stiff and shiny. Constantly beating, add the yolks until well mixed. Still beating add the lemon juice drop by drop. Using a ladle, very slowly add 1 1/2 cups of warm chicken stock to the egg and lemon mixture, 1/4 cup at time, beating continuously after each addition so the sauce doesn't curdle. Once the 1 /12 cups of stock has been added, the soup has now been tempered and you now have the Avgolemono. Slowly add the egg and lemon mixture back into the soup pot, stirring as you're pouring. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve the soup hot in warmed soup bowl with some meatballs and garnish with chopped dill.