Greek Meatball Soup

My parents are in town for the holidays and that means that it’s been a cooking and baking frenzy here for the last couple of days. I’ve vowed this holiday season to do something that I’ve been intending to do for the last 5 years – write down all of my mother’s recipes that exist only in her head.

Last night, we made Euvarlakia (Greek Meatball Soup). Here’s my mom writing down the recipe for me.

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This was one of my absolute favorite things to eat as a kid and it was also the first thing that the Irishman requested when my mom was making her menu for the week.

Without further ado, let’s get this recipe going, shall we? Here are the ingredients. 1 lb. lean ground beef, two stocks celery, two carrots, one small onion, 3 potatoes, 3/4 cup rice, 1 tsp. parsley, 1 tsp. garlic, 1 Tbs. olive oil, 2 eggs, 1 lemon, salt and pepper. (Not pictured is flour and baking soda because my mom didn’t tell me that we needed them until later.)

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First, chop your celery, carrots and potatoes. (You’ll notice that only half of our onion is chopped, but that’s because my mom thought that the whole thing would have been too much.)

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Put 12 cups of water into your pot and add in the chopped celery, carrots and 1 Tbs. olive oil. Bring to a simmer. (You’ll notice the unchopped half of an onion floating in the water. My mom decided to add it in for flavor after all.)

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While the water and veggies are simmering, we’re going to make the meatballs. Put the ground beef into a bowl and add in the 1 tsp. of salt, 1/2 tsp. of pepper, 1 tsp. of parsley and 1 tsp. of garlic.

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Next, add into the bowl the chopped onion, one egg and 1/2 of the rice that you measured out.

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Now, get your Greek mother to mush it all together while you keep your hands completely clean.

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It’s time to roll out the meatballs. My mom scoops them out with a tablespoon and lines them up onto the cutting board to insure that they’re all the same size.

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Once they’re all measured out, roll them into little balls.

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Hello little meatballs. You look very nice. I, of course, won’t be eating any of you, but the rest of the clan here will gobble you all up. I’m sorry about that.

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Next, bring the water and veggies up to a boil.

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Put a plate with a 1/2 cup of flour and a sprinkle of salt next to the pot.

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Next, roll each meatball into the flour. This will keep them whole in the pot.

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Hello plate full of floured meatballs. You look very nice. I, of course, will not be eating…. well, you know the rest.

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Now drop your meatballs one at a time into the pot and add in your potatoes too. This is also where we add the remaining 1/2 of the rice.

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Lower the temperature to a simmer and set your timer to 30 minutes. When the timer goes off, it’s time to make the avgo lemono (egg and lemon mixture), which is the tour de force of most Greek soups. It’s really easy to do. Come, let my little Greek mother show you.

First, add just the whites of your second egg into your bowl.

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Whisk this for 30 seconds or so until it just starts to froth.

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Next, juice your lemon and add this to your egg mixture.

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We’re also going to add an 1/8 tsp. of baking soda and a pinch of salt. Keep whisking!

Now, we’re going to slowly start adding one ladel of broth into our egg mixture while whisking continuously. We want to be careful not to scramble the eggs, so make sure that you add the broth slowly to bring the eggs up to temperature.

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Continue this process until you’ve added about half of the broth into the bowl. Then, slowly pour the egg and broth mixture back into the main soup pot.

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Increase the temperature until just shy of boiling, add in another tsp. of salt and viola, you’re all done!

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This was the Irishman’s bowl that I took a picture of. Can you tell that he was impatient for me to snap the picture so that he could dig in?

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