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Giouvarlakia – Greek meatballs in egg and lemon soup

Giouvarlakia – Greek meatballs in egg and lemon soup

Giouvarlakia, (“γιουβαρλάκια” in Greek and “yuvarlak köfte” in Turkish) are meatballs cooked in a traditional Greek egg/lemon soup called avgolemono (“terbiye” in Turkish).

The avgolemoni soup is made as below but without the meat balls ingredients/steps and ideally with chicken added to the water at the outset when boiling to give the broth a richer flavour.  Our recipe for avgolemoni soup, involves using chicken for the broth, which is also served as part of the soup.

Ingredients for giouvarlakia:

  • 500g pork or beef mince
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 150g uncooked long grain rice (rinsed) or bulgur
  • x2 eggs (separate the yolk and whites)
  • a bunch of parsley
  • a bunch of dill
  • flour to firm up the meat balls
  • salt and pepper for seasoning
  • olive oil
  • 1 chicken stock
  • x5 chopped carrots
  • x2 large potatoes chopped into large rough chunks
  • x2 lemons

How to make the giouvarlakia:

1. In a deep mixing bowl, mix the meat, chopped onion, rice, egg whites, half the parsley bunch chopped, the bunch of dill chopped, a splash of olive oil, salt, pepper and let it stand.

2. Roll each meat mixture to make small bowls and dust each with flour to stop them falling apart when cooking them later.

3. Pour around 2,500g of water into large pan, along with the stock, carrots, potatoes and remaining chopped parsley, salt, pepper, splash of olive oil and bring to the boil.

4. Reduce the heat to medium and add each giouvarlakia meatball one by one to the water mixture.

5. Reduce heat to low, cover the pan, and cook the meat balls for 30 minutes.

6. In a separate bowl, beat the x2 egg yolks and then mix in with the juice from the x2 lemons.

7. Add around x2 ladles of the meat mixture into the egg/lemon mixture and continue beating it to get a foamy yellow sauce.

8. Slowly add the egg/lemon mixture to the meat mixture (to avoid curdling) and mix in.

Giouvarlakia are best served with some fresh bread, and can be a main course, or can be a soup based starter as well.

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Sebastien is the co-founder, editor and author of He is a tech geek, a total travel nerd and a food enthusiast. He spends the majority of his time planning Nomadic Boys' travels meticulously right down to the minute details. Sebastien has travelled to over 80 countries with his partner in crime and the love of his life, Stefan. He regularly shares his expertise of what it’s like travelling as a gay couple both on Nomadic Boys and on prominent publications ranging from Pink News, Matador, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian and many more. Originally from France, Sebastien moved to London in the early 2000s where he pursued a career as a computer programmer for Thompson Reuters and Bloomberg. He subsequently left it all to explore his passion for travelling around the world with Stefan to hand, and thus Nomadic Boys was born.

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