Meatball Soup (Giouvarlaki)

I love this soup! It’s quite hearty and refreshing at the same time. Its a great winter warmer dish, but surprisingly it goes down really well during cool summer nights. The egg-lemon sauce makes it fresh-tasting, and the meatballs are juicy and flavourful. The secret to this dish is the egg-lemon sauce (avgolemono). My mother-in-law taught me this secret method, best done with a hand whisk but I am not too inclined to have my arms fall off before I can enjoy this soup, so an electric hand whisk or a tabletop whisk will do fine.

Ingredients: (serves 2-4)

For the meatballs:
500g of minced beef
1 medium-sized white onion, chopped fine
2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
1 cup of chopped parsley
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of pepper
50g of washed uncooked rice (long grain is suitable. But here I use basmati rice)
1 medium egg
For the sauce:

2 medium-sized eggs (I used 1 large egg here in the pictures)
Juice from 1 lemon

Olive oil
1 litre of water
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

1. In a big mixing bowl, add in all the meatball ingredients (like the picture above). Knead until evenly mixed. Leave the mixture in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes to rest (so it doesn’t break up during cooking) and then form the mixture into balls – make them however big you want to. I usually end up with about 20 meatballs so I make mine quite large. Arrange them on a plate and then leave them to rest in the fridge for another 10-15 minutes.
2. In a pot, add in the litre of water, about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tsp of salt. Bring to the boil, and when its bubbling gently, reduce the heat to medium and gently add in the meatballs. There should be enough water to cover all the meatballs, if not, add more warm water to cover.
3. Cook on simmering heat for about 30 minutes, or until cooked through. Take it off the heat.
5. Tip in the egg-lemon sauce into the pot with the meatballs. The pot should still be warm so mix in the sauce gently to finish ‘cooking’ with the heat from the soup. If you are concerned about the eggs not being cooked sufficiently, heat it while stirring on low heat for 2-3 minutes. Season the soup with salt, to taste.
9. Serve in a bowl, with a healthy garnish of freshly ground black pepper, with nice chunky bread to dip by the side!
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