Giouvarlakia Avgolemono

		A dish from Northern Greece as seen through the eyes
		and stomach of the Snotty Chef.  Spinach and cheese
		stuffed koftas/keftes/keftedes in a lemon, egg,
		butter foam.

							Serves 6-8


	3   lbs beef/lamb, double ground
	2-3  @  onions, medium, finely chopped
	10  clv garlic, finely chopped
	2    @  eggs
	1   cup parsley, chopped
	1   cup bread crumbs
	3   TBS olive oil, fragrant extra virgin
	1/4 tsp rosemary, dried and crushed
	1/2 tsp marjoram, dried and crushed
	1   tsp salt
	1   tsp ground pepper

	Spinach Filling:
	10   ozs spinach, finely chopped
	1/2  tsp dill, dried
	1/16 tsp ground nutmeg

	1    cup kefalotiri or parmesan, grated
	4    ozs cream cheese

	1    TBS cream
	2    TBS sour cream
	A healthy pinch of both salt and pepper

	Avgolemono Sauce (More Avgolemono):
	3    @  eggs, separated
	1/3 cup lemon juice (1 good sized lemon should do it)
	3   TBS butter, melted
	1   cup hot chicken broth
		if broth is fresh and unsalted add 1/2 - 1 tsp salt
	1   tsp mint (peppermint variety), dried, crushed
	1/4 tsp mint, pulverized


	1. In a large mixing bowl, add all the "Meat" ingredients, and
	   mix by hand.  Reserve.

	2. Add all the filling ingredients to a food processor, and
	   process all until the spinach is finely chopped and the
	   mass is about doughlike in consistancy.

	   Set an oven to 225 F, and prepare a coverable vessel for
	   steaming with hot water in the bottom, and a steaming
	   rack.  Put it in the oven covered.

	3. Grab enough meat from the bowl for a medium sized meatball.
	   Manipulate in the usual way to compact the meat, making
	   the ball.  With the ball in one hand, flatten into a thick
	   patty by patting with fingers of the other hand.

	   Make a trough in the center of patty by poking with your
	   finger.  Fill the trough with about 2 tsp of the filling,
	   pressing it into place.

	   Gently coax the meat from the sides of the patty up and
	   and over the filling, sort of folding the meat over the
	   filling.  Pinch the meeting points closed, and handle the
	   result so as to smooth the surface and make a small,
	   slightly ovoid loaf (keftede, kofta).

	   Repeat, reserving your creations on a greased plate or
	   waxed paper.  There should 14-18 of them.

	4. Remove the steaming vessel from the oven and transfer
	   the stuffed keftedes gently to its rack leaving as much
	   space as possible between them.  Cover and return to oven.

	   Steam for approximately 45 minutes - longer if your balls
	   are bigger.  A longer *reasonable* time will not hurt;
	   several days is not advisable.  *Do* keep the temperature
	   low:  too high a temperature will toughen your balls.

	5. Make the avgolemono sauce only when you are about ready
	   to serve:

	6. Put the separated egg whites into a good sized saucepan,
	   perhaps warming them a bit, whisk them in a merangue just
	   short of stiff.

	7. Add in the egg yolks one at a time, incorporating each
	   one before adding the next.

	8. In a fine stream slowly add the melted butter, whisking
	   all the while

	9. Again in a fine stream slowly add the lemon juice, whisking
	   all the while.

       10. Finally, start adding the hot broth and set the saucepan
	   over a low heat, going from whisking to stirring with a wooden
	   spoon as the sauce thickens.  This will take several minutes;
	   be patient and keep stirring.
	   *NEVER* allow this sauce to boil or even simmer - unless
	   you like scrambled eggs for sauce.

       11. Serve the sauce over the keftedes, and with any plain nonsticky
	   rice, orzo, couscous, a simple pilaf or even noodles.

	   A light salad and a dry fruity white wine with, would be good.


	1. The stuffing of the "meatballs" keftedes is an option that
	   is often not taken.

	2. The distribution of herbs is a SC specificity, and a little
	   more complex that usual.  They are at a subtle level; no one
	   will arise to assault the most delicate of senses.

	3. These are fairly delicate, hence the method of steaming;
	   the steaming is necessary and not an option; don't get cute
	   or sloppy, else the gods of culinary science will be wroth,
	   and you will suffer a deserved anxiety attack.

	4. On avgolemono Sauce:
	   The number of specific recipes for avgolemono sauce/soup
	   seems to be unbounded.  They can at least be divided into
	   those that use eggs exclusively for thickening, and those
	   that also employ some form of vegetable starch, most commonly
	   cornstarch, potatostarch and even wheat flour.  Other
	   possibilities are arrowroot, kudzu powder, tapioca flour, etc.
	   Egg thickening is always the finest.


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Created: July 27, 2007
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