While many of us, even here in the States, have at least a passing familiarity with the classic Greek soups enriched with Avgolemono and flavored with lemon, this Greek Meatball Soup is quite a bit different. Tiny, flavorful little meatballs floating in a beefy broth spiked with Parmesan cheese and cream.
How Greek it is, I can’t say, but it was a family favorite for years, something my Mom picked up somewhere. My sister claims it came from a Hamburger cookbook, and this was back in the 70’s, so I have a few suspicions of where this Greek Meatball Soup might fall on an authenticity scale!
A little research proved that some Greek soups do use cream, sour cream or yogurt, and a few use a little cornstarch for body, even when thickening with egg. I couldn’t seem to find any, though, with Parmesan cheese?! Regardless, this is delicious! 🙂
The key to this soup is to use lots and lots of parsley, make the meatballs tiny and don’t boil, just very gently simmer until the rice is tender. Use a fairly lean ground beef (buy on sale in larger packages, divide & freeze) or skim the broth when the meatballs are done, before adding the cream/Parmesan mixture.
Pass small bowls of additional Parmesan along with finely sliced green onion. A simple green salad, maybe one with a Greek dressing, and a great loaf of a good, crusty bread make this a meal. For heartier appetites, a grilled cheese of some sort, preferably one a little on the gourmet side, wouldn’t hurt.
Greek Meatball Soup
- 1 tablespoon butter (or olive oil)
- 1 onion, very finely diced, about 3/4 cup
- 1 pound ground meat (beef, lamb, or mixture)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup uncooked rice, divided (two tablespoons for the meatballs, two for the broth) *
- 1 clove garlic, minced and mashed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon oregano (or 1/2 teaspoon Greek Seasoning)
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 6 cups beef broth
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus a little extra for garnish
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons water
- several green onions, finely sliced
Melt butter in or add oil to a Dutch oven. Add onions and saute until golden brown, stirring often. Remove about a third to a medium-sized bowl and set aside. Add broth to Dutch oven, cover and bring to a gentle simmer.
Add ground beef to the bowl with the onions, along with egg, two tablespoons rice, garlic, salt and oregano or seasoning. Mix together. Form into small meatballs the size of a marble. Roll meatballs in parsley.
When meatballs are finished, add, along with the last two tablespoons rice to the broth. Cover and simmer 20 to 25 minutes, until rice is tender and meatballs are cooked through.
In the meantime, heat cream in a medium-sized saucepan, add cheese and stir over low heat until the cheese is smooth and melted. In a small bowl or cup, mix the cornstarch with the water and add the slurry to the cheese mixture. It will become very thick.
Whisk vigorously, adding about a cup and a half of the broth to the mixture. Allow to come just to a boil, whisking, until thickened. Turn off heat and add a little more broth to thin the mixture so it will easily incorporate into the soup.
Skim any excess fat from the top of the soup. Add the cream/cheese/broth mixture to the soup, gently stirring, being careful not to break up the meatballs. Heat through, but do not boil.
To serve, pass bowls of the finely sliced green onion and additional Parmesan, shredded.
* Note for my sister, I added the additional two tablespoons of rice to the broth, Mom didn’t.
from the kitchen of www.frugalhausfrau.com