Photos by and property of Royce Cara Berler. May be used with author’s permission.

Youvarlakia Avgolemono (Lemony Greek Meatball Soup)

Recipe by Melissa Clark.


1 lb ground chicken (or ground turkey or beef), very cold

¾ cup chopped fresh dill or parsley, plus more for garnish

½ cup grated yellow onion (from about 1 small onion)

¼ cup grated carrot (from about 1 carrot)

¼ cup uncooked long-grain rice, such as basmati or Carolina, well rinsed and drained

1 garlic clove, finely grated, pushed through a garlic press, or minced

1 tsp fine sea salt, plus more as needed

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

½ tsp finely grated lemon zest

6 cups chicken stock

2 large eggs, at room temperature

⅓ cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)


Step 1

In a large mixing bowl, combine ground chicken, ¼ cup dill, onion, carrot, rice, garlic, salt, pepper and lemon zest. Gently mix with your hands until well combined.

Step 2

Gently form the mixture into 24 meatballs, each about 1¼ inches in diameter, placing them on a plate or baking pan. Cover and chill for at least 20 minutes or up to 24 hours. This helps the meatballs keep their shape while cooking.

Step 3

In a large pot, bring stock to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium and use a slotted spoon to carefully add meatballs to the pot. The broth should cover the tops of the meatballs by about ½ inch. If not, add a little water. Simmer gently, adjusting the heat so the broth doesn’t boil, until meatballs are cooked through and rice is tender, 25 to 35 minutes. (Break open a meatball to test it.) Remove pot from heat.

Step 4

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and lemon juice until just mixed. Slowly add a ladle of warm broth to the egg-lemon mixture, whisking constantly. Whisk in another two ladles of broth to temper the egg mixture.

Step 5

Slowly drizzle the egg-lemon mixture back into the pot with the meatballs, stirring gently so you don’t break apart the meatballs. Return the pot to medium-low heat until it just starts to simmer. (Wait for a bubble or two to appear, but don’t let the pot boil.) The broth should be silky. Remove from heat, stir in remaining ½ cup of dill. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed. (It may need quite a bit of salt if you are starting with unsalted broth.) Garnish with nutmeg, if you like, and dill, and serve.

Yield: 4 servings
TIme: 1 hour

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