Presvytera Vassi Makris Haros is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Art, Architecture & Planning and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. She is the owner, designer and photographer of V’s Cardbox, In Service and Love. a greeting card company featuring cards with an Orthodox voice. She strongly feels that experiencing the Orthodox Faith through the church’s cyclical calendar of feasts and fasts is a gift that is too often overlooked.
With the cool fall weather, this smooth hearty meatball soup will warm you up. Euvarelakia (meatballs) are made with low-fat beef and rice in a velvety soup from an avgolemono (egg-lemon) base. It is sure to be a new family favorite.
I start with my filling recipe for DOLMATHES (stuffed grape leaves.) It’s a good balance of beef, rice, and seasonings: 1 ½ lbs. of 90/10 ground beef and 1 cup of short grain rice. I prefer Uncle Ben’s rice. I also add more rice than other recipes because it lightens the texture of the beef. You can use a combination of turkey and beef for a healthier meal. I use this combo when I can only find 80/20 beef; 80/20 is just too fatty and makes this soup a HEAVY meal.
For the seasoning, I put a large yellow onion, a fist full of fresh parsley leaves, and a fist full of fresh mint in a large food processor. You can also add dill or use dried herbs. I use the food processor because my son hates chunks of onions in his food. Then I add the onion-herb mixture, one egg, salt and pepper, and a ¼ c grated kefalotiri cheese to the meat and rice. You can also add parmesan cheese.
Mix well and form into tight 1 inch balls.
Roll balls loosely in flour to lightly coat. I think this helps keep the meatballs from falling apart while cooking.
If you are making all beef meatballs, fill a large pot with 4 cups of water, 2T butter, a few stalks of celery, and a carrot or two for flavor. If you are using a beef/turkey mix, then I recommend 2 cups of chicken (or vegetable) broth and 2 cups water. Bring liquid to a low boil.
Gently drop floured meatballs into boiling broth.
Reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes. You can always add more water to avoid crowding.
After 40 minutes. Take soup off heat and let cool while you make the egg-lemon mixture.
AVGOLEMONO: EGG-LEMON Soup
The Avgolemono soup is a tricky dish. It uses egg to thicken the broth as opposed to flour or corn starch. You run the risk of curdling the egg several times during the preparation, but if you follow my directions, you will do great.
TIP #1- Allow eggs to come to room temperature.
Separate 2-3 eggs. Put yolks in small bowl and put whites in large mixing bowl. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until they froth.
Blend in the yolks, one at a time.
TIP #2- SLOWLY add the juice of 1 lemon. You can use bottled lemon juice.
TIP #3 SLOWLY, and one ladle at a time, add the slightly cooled meatball broth to the egg-lemon while the blender is running. I try to incorporate at least 5 ladles of the broth.
Pour the egg-lemon mixture into the pot of meatballs and gently stir.
TIP #4- the Avgolemono has to be made right before serving. If you reheat the soup, the egg will curdle. This is why the sound of a blender will have a Pavlovian effect on Greek children all across the world; it’s a sound that means “Soup’s On!”
Serve soup with freshly ground pepper, a thin slice of lemon or a dash of parmesan cheese.