Youvarlakia – Greek Meatball Soup

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Youvarlakia, a traditional Greek meatball soup, is a comforting and flavorful dish that has been cherished for generations. Made with tender meatballs infused with aromatic herbs and served in a deliciously rich broth, this soup is a symbol of warmth and love in Greek households. In this blog post, we’ll take a journey into the heart of Greek cuisine, exploring the history of Youvarlakia, its cultural significance, and the step-by-step recipe to recreate this soul-nourishing dish in your own kitchen. Get ready to delight your taste buds and warm your soul with this authentic Greek comfort food!

Youvarlakia is a classic Greek dish known for its hearty and comforting flavors. The name “Youvarlakia” is derived from the Turkish word “yuvarel” or “yuvarlama,” which means “rolled.” This dish showcases the influence of Greek cuisine, particularly the cuisine of Northern Greece, where Turkish and Balkan culinary traditions have left their mark.

  • The dish consists of small meatballs or rissoles made from a mixture of ground meat, typically a combination of beef and pork, mixed with rice or bulgur, herbs, and spices.
  • Youvarlakia are often rolled into small oval shapes and then simmered in a flavorful tomato-based sauce. The sauce typically contains tomatoes, onions, garlic, and a blend of herbs and spices, such as oregano and mint.
  • While Youvarlakia have evolved over time, they remain a beloved comfort food in Greece, enjoyed as a hearty meal that warms both the heart and the soul.

This dish represents the enduring appeal of Greek cuisine and its ability to blend diverse culinary influences into a satisfying and comforting dish.

Youvarlakia – Greek Meatball Soup

Youvarlakia is a cherished soup from the culinary treasure trove of Greece. The name "Youvarlakia" comes from the Turkish word "yuvarelak" or "yuvarlak," which means "round" or "circular." This aptly describes the small, perfectly shaped meatballs that give this soup its distinct character. The meatballs are typically made from a mixture of ground meat, rice, onions, and herbs, resulting in a harmonious blend of flavors and textures. The meatballs are gently simmered in a flavorful broth, which can vary from a light tomato-based broth to a rich egg-lemon sauce, depending on regional preferences.

Tools and Equipment

Prep Time 20 mins Cook Time 45 mins Rest Time 10 mins Total Time 1 hr 15 mins Difficulty: Intermediate Servings: 6 Calories: 368.84 Best Season: Suitable throughout the year

Ingredients

For the Meatballs:

For the Broth:

For the Egg-Lemon Sauce (Avgolemono):

Step-by-Step Instructions

Prepare the Meatballs:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the ground meat, rinsed rice, finely chopped onion, minced garlic, parsley, dill (or mint), ground cumin, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

  2. Mix the ingredients thoroughly with your hands until well combined.

Shape the Meatballs:

  1. Take small portions of the mixture and roll them between your palms to form small, round meatballs, about the size of a walnut.

  2. Place the shaped meatballs on a plate and set aside.

Prepare the Broth:

  1. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the chicken or vegetable broth over medium heat.

  2. If you prefer a tomato-based broth, add the canned diced tomatoes to the pot.

Add the Vegetables:

  1. Add the chopped carrot, celery, and diced potato to the broth.

  2. Drop in the bay leaves for added flavor.

Simmer the Meatballs:

  1. Once the broth comes to a gentle boil, carefully add the meatballs one by one to the pot.

  2. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the soup simmer for about 30-35 minutes, or until the meatballs and rice are fully cooked.

Prepare the Egg-Lemon Sauce (Avgolemono):

  1. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and lemon juice until well combined.

  2. Gradually add 1/2 cup of hot broth from the soup to the egg-lemon mixture, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from curdling.

Add the Avgolemono to the Soup:

  1. Slowly pour the egg-lemon mixture into the soup pot, stirring gently to incorporate it into the broth.

  2. Be cautious not to let the soup come to a boil after adding the Avgolemono to prevent curdling.

Season and Rest:

  1. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if needed.

  2. Remove the pot from the heat and let the soup rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 6


Amount Per Serving
Calories 368.84kcal
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 19.27g30%
Saturated Fat 6.98g35%
Trans Fat 0.99g
Cholesterol 127.57mg43%
Sodium 1477.41mg62%
Potassium 653.25mg19%
Total Carbohydrate 27.29g10%
Dietary Fiber 2.29g10%
Sugars 3.5g
Protein 21.1g43%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Please note that the nutritional values provided are approximate and may vary depending on the specific ingredients and portion sizes used. It's always best to double-check with your specific ingredients and measurements for accurate nutritional information.

Note

Tips and Variations:
  • Tomato-Based Broth: For a heartier and tangier soup, add canned diced tomatoes to the broth. The tomatoes will infuse the broth with their sweet and slightly acidic flavors.
  • Mint or Dill: Traditionally, Youvarlakia is prepared with dill, which offers a subtle herbal note. However, if you prefer a stronger herbal flavor, you can use fresh mint instead of dill.
  • Broth Thickness: You can adjust the thickness of the broth by adding more or less broth to the soup. For a thicker consistency, reduce the amount of broth; for a lighter soup, increase the broth quantity.
  • Cooking Time: The cooking time may vary depending on the size of the meatballs. Ensure that the rice is fully cooked and the meatballs are tender before adding the Avgolemono.
Serving Suggestions:
  • Serve Youvarlakia soup with a sprinkle of freshly chopped dill or mint on top for a burst of freshness.
  • Accompany the soup with a side of crusty bread or warm pita to soak up the flavorful broth.
Allergen Information:
  • Youvarlakia typically contain ground meat, which may include beef and pork. Individuals with specific dietary restrictions or allergies should ensure that the meat used is suitable for their needs.
  • The addition of rice or bulgur can vary, and those with gluten sensitivities should confirm that a gluten-free grain is used.
Wine or Drink Pairing:
  • Youvarlakia pair well with a variety of Greek wines, such as a dry white Assyrtiko or a medium-bodied red Xinomavro. These wines complement the dish's rich and savory flavors.
  • For a non-alcoholic option, consider serving Youvarlakia with sparkling water and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for a refreshing contrast.
Storage and Leftovers:
  • Youvarlakia can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days. Reheat them gently on the stovetop or in the microwave.
  • Alternatively, Youvarlakia can be frozen for longer storage. Place them in a freezer-safe container or bag and store for up to three months. Thaw and reheat when ready to enjoy.
Keywords: Youvarlakia, Greek meatball soup, comfort food, Greek cuisine, aromatic herbs, egg-lemon sauce.

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