Youvarlakia are Greek meatballs with rice, in a nice light tomato and egg-lemon sauce. It is a very popular dish in Greece and if you have young children they will be an instant hit, not to mention that it is a quick dish and easy on the family budget. You can also disguise some vegetables that the children usually refuse to eat, and these veggies make the meatballs much lighter.
Ingredients 300 gr. minced meat (pork or veal, or a mixture) About ¾ cup rice 1 carrot (or one zucchini or both) grated ½ cup finely chopped parsley 2 large eggs separated 1 large onion grated 4 large potatoes cut into quarters (or as many as you wish) Juice of one large lemon (or more according to your taste) 1 -1 ½ teaspoons tomato paste or 2 tomatoes grated 3 tablespoonfuls olive oil 3 tablespoonfuls margarine 1 cube chicken stock (or vegetable stock) if you wish 1 teaspoon corn flour Salt, pepper
Place the minced meat, rice, grated onion, grated carrot/zucchini, the whites of the two eggs (keep the yolks to make the egg-lemon sauce), the parsley, salt and pepper and mix the ingredients well with your hands. Put in the fridge for a little while. Fill a wide-bottomed pot halfway with water and set it on the stove. Add the oil, the margarine and the tomato and let it reach boiling point. If you wish, you can add a stock cube for more flavor. Peel the potatoes, wash them, quarter them and place them in a pot with cold water.
In the meantime prepare the meatballs. Take a small quantity in the palm of your hand (about a large walnut) and press it until you have a small ball, or you can make it oblong about 4cm long. Lay them on a plate or a wooden or plastic cutting surface. When they are all ready and the water is boiling, drop them carefully, a couple at a time in the water, taking care not to burn yourself. Then place the potatoes in the pan. Make sure that the youvarlakia are covered by the water. Cover the pot, lower the heat and let it simmer for about an hour. Every 10 – 15 minutes, have a look to make sure that there is enough water in the pot.
Towards the end of the cooking time, taste one meatball to see if it is done and check the salt and pepper. There should be a fair amount of liquid left in the pot, about two cups. Prepare the egg-lemon sauce. Dissolve the corn flour in 2 – 3 tablespoonfuls cold water. Place the egg yolks in a bowl and beat lightly. Add the lemon juice while beating and the corn flour. Then, with a ladle, add some liquid from the pot to the beaten eggs, and finally pour the contents of your bowl back into the pot. Shake the pot so that the sauce is distributed evenly. Do not boil. Turn off the heat and just leave the pot on the warm hot plate shaking the pot once or twice more and serve.
You can accompany this dish with a nice salad and fresh, crusty bread because there is some lovely sauce waiting to be moped up!