Such nifty little bastards, they are! You can roll them in flour and fry them, you can freeze them for future use, you can include them in soups and sauces, you can add whatever ingredients your creative little self wishes to add to them...in other words, (meat)balls are just awesome! And I'm not one to rave about meat, which is ironic since I've worked in 3 different steakhouses. It's just not something I feel is vital in every meal. Maybe it's my Greek upbringing, we're more of a fish and windex kind of folk anyway. ;-)
Having said this, when I do want meat, I more than likely want minced meat and when I want minced meat, I more often than not want THIS dish! Greeks call it "you-var-la-kia" (γιουβαρλάκια) and it's basically meatballs swimming in a fabulous pool of an egg-and-lemon sauce: avgolemono (αυγολέμονο).
Now allow me to rave about this egg and lemon sauce I speak of. It's true! I'm a sucker for lemons (get it!?)! Lemony chicken, lemony potatoes...lemony ANYTHING and I will devour it. I love the tart and tangy-ness a lemony dish caters to my taste buds. Now, add some egg in there for added flavor and thickness and well...you got pure divinity! Such a simple unison yet such an explosion of flavor and pure joy in your mouth...:-)
My grandma used to serve the meatballs with sauce only, with bread as your only vessel in soaking up all that saucy goodness. I loved it but I prefer the way my father makes them. He does his the same way but with some extra rice in the sauce, making it feel more like a "full" meal, plus you don't need as much bread as the rice pleasantly fills you up.
Chef Dad. He hates getting
his picture taken!
So today's fabulous meal was prepared courtesy of my lovely personal Chef/Father.
Meatballs in Heavenly Lemony Sauce
Serving, 4 peeps
What you'll need for the meatballs:
750 gr. of ground meat (about 1 and a half pounds)
1 medium sized onion
a generous amount of minced garlic
fresh chopped parsley, as much as you feel you like
1 teaspoon cumin seed
olive oil, a few swirls around the bowl
3 Tablespoons uncooked rice
salt and pepper, to taste
What you'll need for the sauce:
the juice of one juicy lemon :-)
3- 3 1/2 cups water or home made stock
slightly less than half a cup of rice
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
A few side notes:
- The meatballs can be "flavored" in a ton of ways. This is just one of many. Some like to add basil and mint to them as well. I've even heard of ouzo being thrown into the mix. Add or subtract whatever you feel you would like to. It's your world.
- The type of meat you buy is entirely up to you and your preference. You can use pork, beef, lamb or even a mixture of all 3.
- This dish makes an excellent soup and more often than not, it IS served as a soup! The way you decide to serve it is completely dependent on how much liquid you're going to put in your pot.
-Like i said before, youvarlakia are usually served with just their sauce...we personally just add extra rice to it. :-) Adding rice to the sauce is completely optional since there's rice in the meatballs as already.
- Be careful when reheating this soup. Reheat on low heat and stir frequently. Heat just until med-hot, if it comes to a simmer again you might break your eggs. Also, it's best to consume this dish within the first day or two of making it. You don't want stuff with egg sitting around for too long. You won't have a problem though, this stuff is good and it goes fast.
Hark! Is that music I hear in the background?
1. Place your meat in a bowl and mix all the ingredients in it. Shape the meat into as many medium sized balls as you can (it should make about 12).
3. Lower your heat to a low and let it cook for about 45 minutes to an hour.
4. Remove from heat and let it sit for a few minutes. In the mean time, get a bowl and whisk your eggs with the lemon juice.
5. Take some liquid from your pot and slowly temper the lemon/egg mixture. Tempering means you want to add the hot liquid slowly because if you pour too fast...chances are you're end up with scrambled eggs, and we're not making no breakfast here.
6. Once you've added enough liquid and the whole mixture is now relatively warm, go ahead and pour all this back into the pot. Give it a good stir and let it sit for a few more minutes. You can warm it up slightly under low heat but be very careful when doing that. You don't want to get the sauce pipping hot again at this point cause your eggs will break.
Man! I truly wish blogger has some type of smell-o-vision and taste-o-vision going on cause these pics can't do the meal justice!! The whole house smelled absolutely amazing and the taste...oh my word! Tangy, saucy, meaty...just heavenly!