Youverlakia - Giouverlakia - Greek Meatballs with Rice - Greek Comfort Food

Giouverlakia - Youverlakia - Greek meatballs with rice in tomato sauce - Photo Greeker than the Greeks
Giouverlakia - Youverlakia - Greek meatballs with rice in tomato sauce - Photo Greeker than the Greeks

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 Greek 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 - Youverlakia avgolemono
Youverlakia egg & lemon sauce - Youverlakia avgolemono

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"

Until I decide to 'just do it', I'll make youverlakia with tomato sauce, delicious with good old mashed potato.

Ingredients for youverlakia
Ingredients for youverlakia

If it's just me and MGG (My Greek God) I use 500gr of minced beef.

When all the family  are here I use a kilo.

Ingredients for yuverlakia (enough for 2-3 people)

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

150 ml Olive oil

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.


 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.

Turn down heat and 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.

Potato masher
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  Green salad - Photo Greeker than the Greeks
Youverlakia & mashed potato
Green salad - Photo Greeker than the Greeks

Greek Lettuce Salad 

 1 kos lettuce. Washed and chopped.

4 or 5  spring onions, use a small amount of  green leafy bit as well, washed and sliced.

l  small bunch of dill, just the feathery bits (not the stalks), chopped with scissors. 

 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 & pepper

Mix  well.

Kos Lettuce
Kos Lettuce

Even though I only used 500gr of mince, there was plenty left for youverlakia with chips the next day.

Youverlakia with chips
Youverlakia with chips

Hopefully, in the near future, I'll take the plunge, and, try my hand at "Youverlakia Avgolemono"

Watch this space!

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