Sunday brunch: Meatballs with rice and parsley in a lemon broth

Mina Stone, author of the recent cookbook “Lemon, Love and Olive Oil,” joins Boston’s WGN Weekend Morning News to share her recipe for Greek Meatball Soup.

This dish is a simple and traditional Greek stew of meatballs sprinkled with rice in a silky, lemony avgolemono sauce.


1 pound (500 g) ground beef
¼ cup (50 g) uncooked long-grain rice, such as jasmine or carolina, rinsed
1 medium yellow onion, grated on the large holes of a grater and the juice gently squeezed out
2 handfuls flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, plus more for garnish

1 egg, at room temperature
Juice of 2 lemons
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


In a large bowl, mix ground beef with rice, onion and parsley.
Add a generous pinch of salt and a few black peppercorns.
Knead briefly, until all ingredients are combined and well incorporated.
Roll the mixture into meatballs a little bigger than a golf ball. Arrange on a plate and refrigerate for 20 minutes (this helps set the meatball).
In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups (946 mL) of water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and carefully add the meatballs.
The water should come about 1 inch above the meatballs; add more hot water if needed. Simmer for 30 to 35 minutes, until the meatballs are just cooked through and the rice is tender.
Turn off the heat and prepare the avgolemono.

To make the avgolemono:

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg with the lemon juice and very slowly add a ladleful of broth, whisking all the time.
Whisk two more ladles of broth, then slowly pour the avgolemono into the pot with the meatballs, stirring all the time.
Return the heat to low and stir until it begins to simmer.
The broth should be velvety and thick like the consistency of heavy cream.
Turn off the heat again and taste for seasoning, adding salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed.
Garnish with parsley and serve.

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