Giouvarlakia with Tomato Sauce and Oregano from Greece

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There is absolutely nothing like a pot of meatballs.

I could be stressed for all sorts of reasons – food gifts to pack, events to plan and, oh, there’s that little thing called a cookbook to write – and then I return to the kitchen, instantly finding my center. The quickest way for me to relax is to dig my hands into a manual food project, something that requires a touch of light labor and all (or most) of my focus.

Now, I’ve never been to Greece but after making these meatballs using my favorite hand-picked dried herbs, I am so ready to sign up for that trip. You book the flights and I’ll find a tiny cottage carved into the hillside. We can drink local wine and scoop up every last bit of sauce with some pita or crusty country bread.

This recipe – so generously shared by Evangelina, one of the founders of Greek herb company Daphnis and Chloe – was effortless and, with just a few turns of the mixture, I forgot about everything else on my plate. The Oregano from Cephanlonia is peppery and floral, adding just what’s needed to liven up this pot of comfort. The Bay Leaf used in the sauce is heady and lasts forever.

If you want to play along, both hand-picked herbs are available in the shop. The vacation in Greece, well, that’s going to require a bit more conspiring and planning. I’ll dream about it as I scoop up the rest of this sauce…

Now, where should we go next and what should we eat?!

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Giouvarlakia with Tomato Sauce and Oregano

This hearty recipe is the summery version of a staple of a Greek mom’s repertoire. It is the perfect recipe for a large group of friends.

Ingredients:

For the Meatballs
  • 1/2 cup of cooked rice
  • 2/3 lb (300 grams) ground beef
  • 1/2 lb (200 grams) ground pork or sausage
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Oregano from Cephalonia
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup flour
For the Sauce
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1/2 can tomato pureé
  • 1 large tomato, peeled and roughly diced
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. First we make the meatballs: In a large bowl mix the rice, ground beef, ground pork, olive oil, Oregano from Cephalonia, salt and pepper. Stir well.
  2. Use your hands to divide the mixture in small balls and then roll them one by one in a plate of flour. Set the balls aside while you prepare the sauce.
  3. In a large shallow pot, combine carrots, tomato pureé, tomato, bay leaf, garlic, sugar, salt, pepper and water.
  4. When the sauce starts boiling add the meatballs, lower the fire and cook for about 40 minutes. Serve!
Photos by Evangelina Koutsovoulou.

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Comments

  • These meatballs sound so hearty and delicious! I’ve never made meatballs with rice–just breadcrumbs–so I’m really interested to see the difference in texture.

    • They are so very good with rice, Eileen. Delicious. And the spices, wow. xox

  • Tabitha

    Love the photos, especially the first one – seems like the perfect casual get-together dish!

    • It was so good. I made it again! xox

  • Jen

    Love the photos and the recipe! There’s nothing like a good sauce and meatballs recipe : )

    • Totally agree, Jen! xox