taste & create: learning to make youvarelakia


taste & create is one of my favourite blogging events. its organised by nicole from for the love of food who pairs bloggers up who then cook a recipe from each other’s blog.

it’s great fun looking through a blog and then having to be disciplined enough to choose just one recipe to try. waiting to see what the other person chooses to cook of yours is always exciting. in many ways, that’s the whole point of having a blog - i want people to try (and hopefully enjoy!) the same dishes that i cook and love.

i’ve been paired with elly from elly says opa who, like my previous partner valli, has a penchant for all things greek. looking through elly’s blog i was tempted by many, many dishes but decided to choose one which combined a number of elements that were appealing – greek flavours, a lemony egg sauce and meatballs. i decided to make elly's youvarlakia!

youvarlakia are little greek meat and rice balls in avgolemono (egg and lemon broth). the dish is also quite healthy so it fits in well with my january health kick. despite the complicated name, youvarlakia is easy enough to make. i was a little concerned my meatballs might not hold together while bubbling away in the stock but everything was just fine.

the flavours of this dish are very gentle and it was the perfect food for a cold wet and windy evening. the main reason i chose this was because i was intrigued about the avgolemono which had a delicious light lemony flavour while still being comfort food. however, i wasn’t keen on the flavour of the poached meatballs – next time i think i’d use chicken which i think tastes better poached than red meat. or i’d bake the meatballs before serving them with the avgolemono.

so, in summary, comfort food with a twist! thanks elly, it was a pleasure to cook as you!

check out elly's version of my courgette and lemon risotto

youvarelakia (serves 3-4)

1 onion

500g lean beef mince (it must be lean so you don't get a greasy broth!)

1/2 cup uncooked white rice

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

4 eggs

salt & freshly ground black pepper

15g butter

4 cups stock (i used vegetable bouillon)

the juice of 2 lemons

halve the onion. very finely dice (or grate) one half and place in a large bowl. add the beef, rice, parsley, 1 beaten egg and seasoning to taste.

dice the other half of the onion. melt the butter, add the diced onion and cook until translucent. add the stock to the pan and bring to a light boil.

meanwhile, form the meatballs mixture into 1" meatballs (you will get around 25 or so).

drop the meatballs into the simmering stock. reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 20-25 minutes, until the meatballs and rice are cooked through. remove from heat.

whisk the 3 remaining eggs with the lemon juice until combined. slowly drizzle 2 ladles of the hot stock (leaving the meatballs in the pan) into the egg and lemon mixture, stirring continuously so the eggs don’t scramble.

slowly pour the egg, lemon and broth mixture into the pan with the meatballs, again stirring continuously as you do so. season to taste, if necessary.

serve meatballs with a ladle of sauce (or as much as you want). you can add more stock if you’d like the dish to be more like a soup.