Giouvarlakia: Greek Meatballs with Avgolemono

 Giouvarlakia or youvarlakia is how we call meatballs with avgolemono sauce. A classic Greek delicacy, giouvarlakia has an Ottoman origin as the word “yuvarlak” means spherical in Turkish and it refers to the shape of the meatballs which are the main protagonist of this hearty, mouthwatering wintery soup.

 Just like most of Greek dishes, giouvarlakia is easy to prepare. However, what makes this giouvarlakia soup exquisite is the avgolemono sauce. The Greek meatballs combined with the creamy avgolemono texture make giouvarlakia an excellent comfort dish to be enjoyed on a cold, winter day. Some important tips when making this dish: First of all, try to give meatballs the same size so they are evenly cooked. Then, put the rice into a ball filled with water while you are preparing all the materials. Wash the rice well and drain it before you use it. 

This traditional giouvarlakia recipe takes 60 minutes to prepare, and 30 minutes to cook, and serves 4 persons. 


Giouvarlakia - Ingredients

  • 500 g of lean minced beef
  •  100 g of long-grain rice
  •  2 tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
  •  1 onion, chopped
  •  egg
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt 
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 yolks
  • Lemon juice, of 2 lemons
  • 1 teaspoon of cornstarch

Giouvarlakia - How to Make

  1. Take a large bowl, add all the ingredients and mix until becomes a smooth mixture. 
  2. Cover the bowl with a transparent foil and allow the mixture to rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  3. Form the meatballs with your hands by taking a teaspoon of a small amount from the mixture and roll it between your palms until they form into small balls. 
  4. Put them on a tray next to the other, in a single layer.
  5. In a soup pot bring to boil 1L of water. 
  6. After it starts boiling, turn the heat down, and with a slotted spoon gently lower the meatballs into the water, a few at a time. 
  7. Once all the meatballs are inside, the water should be enough to only cover them. Add more if needed and, with the lid on, let boil for 25 minutes.
  8. In a bowl add the yolks, the corn starch, the juice of 2 lemons, and the dill, and whisk well.
  9. Very slowly, add to the bowl 2-3 ladlefuls of the stock where the meatballs boiled. Whisking constantly.
  10. Remove the pot from the heat and stir the sauce into the meatball soup, shaking the pot to distribute it evenly. 
  11. Do not cover it with a lid before it has cooled down, otherwise, the egg can still curdle.

Serve this deliciously warming Greek meatball soup while still hot, with a sprinkle of chopped parsley on top and toasted bread aside.