One of my all-time favorite favorite restaurants in town is a little Greek restaurant called Alexanders. You have to understand that I have never been to Greece and my dining choices in this small town are pretty limited. When this place opened up, I was in heaven!
Of course the flavors and fresh food is something I would love to bring home to share with my family, or use to entertain with when my friends come over. So I was very excited to join in on the first anniversary book tour for Its All Greek To Me - Transform Your Health The Mediterranean Way With My Family's Century-Old Recipes by Debbie Matenopoulos.
In fact, I flipped through and drooled over all the gorgeous photos when it first arrived. I knew it was going to be a challenge to pick one item to try.
Well, you all know how much I adore meatballs, so when I saw the Greek Meatball Soup, I was set. Not only did it give me a choice of meat (ground beef, pork chicken or lamb), but it was served in a lemon and egg broth, a flavor that I already love in an orzo chicken soup I make regularly.
The soup itself is slightly tart, smooth and full of flavor from the simmered meatballs.
For my own family dinner I also made Debbie's Horiatki Salata and Savory Cheese Pie, which you can find all in the cookbook. All three recipes were a huge hit. The instructions were easy to follow and they came out beautifully for dinner.
There are several small touches in the book that make it a real treasure. First there are both the Greek names for the dishes listed along with their English equivalent. The Greek Meatball Soup I made from the book is called Youvarlakia Avgolemono. It also has the pronunciation following the names of the dishes.
And besides all the photos of the delicious food, there are photos of Greece in all it's splendor and little bits of culture peppered throughout.
I am loving this cookbook and know I will be pulling it out many more times over the Summer months for entertaining and weekend meals. There are so many more recipes I have earmarked to try.
excerpt from the cookbook with permission
Youvarlakia Avgolemono (yoo-var-LAH-kee-ah ah-VGHO-leh-moh-noh)
Greek Meatball Soup
This seemingly simple dish is absolutely scrumptious! The Avgolemono acts as a soup in this recipe, making it a great way to warm your belly on a cold winter night. Serve it with Lahanosalata (page 94) for a perfect pairing.
1 pound lean ground beef or lean ground turkey, chicken, or lamb
1/2 cup long-grain white rice, rinsed well and drained
1/2 cup coarsely grated onion
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
2 large eggs, separated
11/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 to 6 cups hot water, plus more as needed
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 to 3 lemons)
Gently combine the meat, rice, onion, parsley, egg whites, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl with a large fork or impeccably clean hands. Mix until just combined but do not overwork, or your meatballs will be tough. Using your hands, gently form the mixture into balls about the size of a walnut.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot set over medium heat. Gently place the meatballs into the oil, arranging them in neat rows. Slowly pour 4 cups of the hot water over the meatballs to cover, using more water if necessary. Increase heat to medium- high, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 40 minutes or until the meatballs are tender and fully cooked. Add more water if less than 1 cup remains. You should end up with about 2 cups of broth in the pot when the meat is done.
Whisk the 2 egg yolks in a medium mixing bowl until smooth, then slowly whisk in the lemon juice. Temper the egg mixture by slowly pouring 1 cup of hot broth from the pot into the egg yolk mixture, whisking continuously until well combined. Slowly pour the egg yolk–broth mixture back into the pot with the meatballs, stirring gently to combine. Do not allow the broth to boil at this point or the eggs will scramble.
Gently shake the pot to coat the meatballs. Continue to cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately, with plenty of crusty bread to soak up the sauce.
Even if you have never made Greek food before, this cookbook is a delicious place to start!
Check out these other tour stops for #OneYrGreek
Do you have a favorite Greek dish? Have you ever tired Greek cuisine before?