Youverlakia, giouverlaki, uverlakia.
Which ever way you choose to spell it, any of these variations are delicious!
Greek comfort food for those colder days.
Youverlakia are meatballs made with minced beef and long grain rice.
You sometimes hear a chubby Greek child being called a Youverlaki, something equivalent
to the English calling a chubby child a butterball!
Again, as with recipes from all parts of the world, there are many different versions of the youverlakia.
|Youverlakia egg & lemon sauce|
The most popular recipe for youverlakia, is with egg and lemon sauce, "Avgolemono", which I have never made
The egg and lemon sauce scares me!
Whenever you are told how to make it, the phrase:
"Be careful not to let the sauce curdle"
Is stressed a thousand times!
I'm sure that I could manage it, a case of:
"Just do it"
HERE is a recipe for youverlakia in egg and lemon sauce
I make youverlakia with tomato sauce, delicious with good old mashed potato.
|Ingredients for youverlakia|
If it's just me and MGG (My Greek God) I use 500gr of minced beef.
When the gang are here I use a kilo.
Here's a thing that I have about mince:
I will only ever buy from my butcher and only ever a piece of beef that he minces in front of me, putting it through the mincer twice so as not to be too chunky.
I like to know what I'm buying!
I never eat anything made from mince out in a taverna or restaurant either.
Just one of my little peculiarities!
Ingredients for yuverlakia
500gr minced beef
2 handfuls raw long grain rice
2 chopped onions
1 clove chopped garlic
1 beaten egg
1 carton tomato juice or puree
salt & pepper
1 bay leaf
Put the olive oil into a large saucepan, heat for a few minutes and add the tomato puree.
Bring to a simmer, add salt & pepper and the bay leaf, stir well.
Add boiling water to about half way up the pan and keep simmering.
Meanwhile in a large bowl put the mince, chopped onion and garlic, the two handfuls of rice, the beaten egg and salt & pepper.
Give it a real good mix up, first with a spoon or fork but then with your hands, messy but the best way!
When it's mixed really well, take about a dessertspoon of the mixture and roll into balls in your hands.
Then gently lower the meatballs into the simmering sauce with a spoon.
Make sure that the sauce is at boiling point when you put them in and also make sure that they are covered with the sauce.
You may need to add a bit more boiling water at this point.
Let them cook at a slow boil for about an hour or until the sauce has nicely thickened.
Stir very carefully from time to time, being careful not to break up the meatballs.
Here's a tip, don't be tempted to put more than two handfuls of rice into the mince, if there is too much, as it swells during cooking it will break up the meatballs.
You will end up with mince and rice in tomato sauce!
I know, I have done it!
Yuverlakia can be served with rice, chips or mashed potato.
One thing that I would not be without in my kitchen is the old-fashioned potato masher.
This is about thirty years old, I remember I bought it in Rackhams, Bradford!
I also remember that I couldn't believe the price of it, it's Prestige make, when I told the lady at the till:
" Wait a sec, I'll take a cheaper one," she said:
"Don't, buy a quality one, you'll have it forever"
She was right!
Through the years I have found the saying:
"You get what you pay for"
to be very true.
I could never find a masher in Greece and I still have never seen one.
Greeks do eat mashed potato but what they mash it with I don't know.
I do suspect a mixer or blender of some sort as it is always rather sloppy and smooth, a bit like wallpaper paste!
The only way to make decent fluffy mashed potato is with a masher, salt & pepper, milk and a generous chunk of butter.
And plenty of elbow grease!
I like to serve youverlaki and mash with a crisp green salad.
|Youverlakia & mashed potato|
Greek Lettuce Salad
1 kos lettuce. Washed and chopped.
4 or 5 spring onions, use the green leafy bit as well ,washed and sliced.
l small bunch of dill, just the feathery bits chopped with scissors, not the stalks.
Salt & pepper, olive oil and a dash of wine or balsamic vinegar.
Put all salad ingredients in a large salad bowl
Pour over olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and add salt 7 pepper
Mix up well.
Even though I only used 500gr of mince, there was plenty left for youverlakia with chips the next day.
Oh, and only ever real chips: never frozen, never oven chips, real, peeled by me, potatoes, chipped and deep fried!
|Youverlakia with chips|
Hopefully, in the near future, I'll take the plunge, and, try my hand at "Youverlakia Avgolemono"
Watch this space!