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. This soup has a seldom seen beefy broth spiked with Parmesan, enriched with cream and it has tiny little meatballs that can be made with lamb or beef or even a combination. In the soup, itself, there’s just a touch of rice to help fill it out and give it body.
Greek Meatball Soup might just be one of those soups you have to taste to believe! It’s indescribably delicious. It’s rich without being heavy, and it’s such a nice soup for a light supper or special lunch just about anytime. It’s a soup that can really span the seasons.
About Greek Meatball Soup:
I always thought this soup was one passed on to my Mom from our Greek neighbor, my Sis’s best friend’s Yaya. Well, when I asked Liz, she said she thought Mom had gotten this recipe from a paperback cookbook with multiple hamburger recipes. Hamburger was what most people back in the ’70s in the Midwest called ground beef; the term was generic and covered more than just burgers. At any rate, how Greek is this soup? Well, it might just be Greek to me. (I can never resist a bad pun!)
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! 🙂
When serving the soup, pass small bowls of additional Parmesan along with the finely sliced green onion. A simple green salad, maybe one with a Greek dressing, and a great loaf of a good, Crusty Bread like my No-Knead, Overnight Crusty Bead makes this a meal. Hey, you couldn’t go wrong with a little of Our Family’s Parmesan Toast and really drive that cheesy goodness home.
Making Greek Meatball Soup:
This does not make a big old huge pot of soup; the servings are a bit conservative, which is a reflection on its richness and of course, 50 years ago, a serving was more of an actual serving, not what it seems we eat today. So if you have hearty appetites, increase the recipe. You can do that by clicking on the 2, 3, or 4 times on the recipe.
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, lamb or a mixture of the two or you’ll want to skim the broth when the meatballs are done, before adding the cream/Parmesan mixture. That’s always a hassle.
One other thing I think makes for the best soup is to use Greek seasoning, store-bought or my Homemade Greek Seasoning if you like. If you want a Greek salad for this meal, you can whip up a quick Greek vinaigrette using that seasoning, too, recipe on that post, so it can do double duty. There are so many uses for Greek seasoning!
The one thing that makes this soup so much more do-able is to use a scoop for the meatballs. A small scoop. You can really knock them out quickly and when done pick up each to form into a ball and roll in the parsley. It used to be my job as a teenager to form the meatballs, so trust me on this! If you don’t have a very small scoop, even a tablespoon one helps. As you form the meatballs you can divide each tablespoon into two.
Saving Money on Greek Meatball Soup:
I make most of my own spice blends, especially if they’re made from items I usually have in my spice cupboard. My rule of thumb is if the blend at the store is more than the most expensive ingredient in it, then you’re better off making it yourself. If you’d like to see more of my spice & herb blends, check out Spice, Herb & Flavor Packet Substitutes. I’m always adding as I go along!
Ground Beef is of course, far less expensive than lamb, but a combo of both is nice, too, if you want all that flavor but don’t want to pay the full cost. I shop very strategically for my ground beef and know the highs and lows in my area. If you track that you can identify what is a good sale and what is a great one (usually ground beef will drop to a low once a quarter or so) and can stock up, portion in appropriate sizes for your family and freeze.
Cream can be picked up on sale near just about any holiday and with its high-fat content, keeps literally for weeks just fine. Stock is another great item to watch around holidays, especially around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. Stock up. If you have an Aldi nearby, the prices are great and you’ll find the same at a buyer’s club, although neither will be as good as the holiday sales. Get in the habit of stocking up at a low and you’ll make a significant dent in your grocery spending.Print
Greek Meatball Soup
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4 to 6 small 1x
- Category: Soup
- Cuisine: Greek
- 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, lamb or a mixture to the bowl with the onions, along with egg, two tablespoons rice, garlic, salt, and oregano or Greek seasoning. Mix together. Form into small meatballs the size of a marble (what we used to call a “boulder” with is a slightly larger marble works well.) No more than a scant inch across. 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.
Keywords: Bargain Meal of the Week, Beef Stock, Cheese, Cream, Eggs, Family Recipe, Greek, Green Onion, Ground Beef, parmesan, Rice, Soup