This was another fun item to make… okay, I know say that in every post. I can’t help it, I just love to cook!
I made this for our November Saturday Open House dinner as part of our Mediterranean theme (in this case Greece), so I doubled this recipe.
I made up the meatballs on Friday and then cooked them on Saturday – easy and delicious. The only thing you need to keep in mind for this one is the additional time required for thickening the yogurt – you’ll need to add in at least 1 hour for this.
The following recipe is not the doubled version; it should make about 40 meatballs. It’s adapted from The Olive and The Caper, by Suzanne Hoffman.
Belle’s note: This was the first dish to disappear during our November open house; everyone loved it. It smells delicious while it’s cooking, too. The sauce is a tangy tomato-y sauce that has a beautiful red colour.
Beef and Rice Meatballs in Yogurt-Tomato Sauce (Youvarelakia Yogurt Sauce)
For the Meatballs
1 lb ground beef (don’t use lean or extra lean, you need the fat for good tasting meatballs)
1 cup cooked rice, at room temperature
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large clove of garlic, pressed
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 large free-range egg
2 + tbsp olive oil for browning the meatballs
For the Youvarelakia Yogurt Sauce
1/3 cup olive oil
796 ml (28 fl oz) can of San Marzano type tomatoes, chopped
3 large cloves, peeled and finely sliced
1 tsp fresh rosemary needles, finely chopped
1/3 cup capers, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp organic lemon zest, chopped
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup thickened yogurt*
Youvarelakia Yogurt Sauce
- Heat oil over medium-high heat.
- Add tomatoes and garlic and stir for about 1 minute.
- Add the rosemary, capers, lemon, wine and salt.
- Cook until the tomatoes are soft, about 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in the thickened yogurt*.
- Place in small serving bowls or ramekins, or in one larger bowl with a ladle for everyone to spoon sauce over their meatballs.
* Directions for thickened yogurt: Use 3 cups full fat yogurt
- Place a double layer of cheesecloth over a fine mesh sieve.
- Pour yogurt into sieve and let drain at least 1 hour.
- Squeeze out any extra moisture form yogurt and retain the yogurt.
- Mix all the ingredients except the oil in a large bowl. (Use your hands, it’s the only way to really mix and get involved in the food).
- Roll together tablespoon-sized balls and place on a baking sheet or large platter.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the meatballs, but don’t overcrowd or the oil temperature will drop.
- Cook in batches for 8-10 minutes each.
- Serve the meatballs with the Youvarelakia Yogurt sauce on the side.