Yiayia’s Youvarlakia

Erica Danos
Erica Danos

My friend Erica Danos craved her Yiayia’s Youvarlakia (Greek meatballs in tomato sauce). She tried making the dish a couple of times and was finally content with it turning out “95% like Yiayia’s”. I say that’s success! Here is Erica’s recipe for Yiayia Erato’s Youvarlakia.
For the meatballs you will need:
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/3 cup of raw rice medium grain (to help bind the meatballs together)
1 lb. ground beef (at least 90% lean -10% fat)
1/4 cup combined dried parsley, dried oregano and dried dill
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper to taste
flour (to roll meatballs in before cooking) seasoned with salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil to saute onions, garlic and rice
For the sauce you will need:
3 cups chicken broth, non-fat (enough to cover the meatballs)
1/2 can of tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a small skillet. Saute the onion 2-3 minutes until soft then add the garlic for a minute. Next add the rice for 2-3 minutes to allow it to get coated with the mixture.

Place ground beef in a medium bowl. Add the sauteed onion, garlic and rice mixture, as well as the dried herbs, beaten egg, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix together lightly and then shape into walnut shell-sized meatballs.

Bring broth to a boil with the tomato paste in a medium saucepan. As meatballs are formed, roll in flour, then carefully drop into boiling liquid. Simmer covered for 25 to 30 minutes. Serves 4 to 6. Erica suggests, “Serve with soft bread or rolls for dipping!”

Yiayia's Youvarlakia
Yiayia Erato's Youvarlakia

This recipe was adapted from “Youvarlakia” in the cookbook Taste of Life Greek Food, by the Ladies Philoptochos Society of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church
Grand Rapids Michigan.

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