A few months ago, while we were scrolling through Pinterest, we came across recipes for porcupine meatballs. Intrigued, and slightly horrified, we investigated and were pleased to discover that these are not made of porcupine meat. In fact, porcupine meatballs are just regular meatballs with rice added to the mix; because the rice kind of pokes out of the cooked meatballs, they appear prickly, like porcupines. Cute. We grew up with something kind of similar, although the Greek version doesn’t have such a silly name; in Greek households they are called yiouvarlakia.
It’s not often that a two-bit character actor is cast in a leading role. It’s rare for a back-up singer to move center stage, and win a Grammy. It’s unusual for a second-string quarterback to somehow lead the league in touchdown passes. And it’s surprising that a plain Jane vegetable, which is usually part of a basic trio (think: saute onion, garlic and celery…), becomes the focus of an entire, decadent meal. But this is a celery Cinderella story, and we’re here to tell it.
This recipe is an example of us taking one for the team. You, dear readers, are our team. That’s right…you. Have we told you lately how happy we are to have you on our team? How happy, and thankful, we are that you have discovered Mia Kouppa?! And this recipe, it’s our thanks to you. We know that many people love Greek-style cabbage rolls, so how could we possibly deny you this recipe, despite the fact that we hate don’t like them? Keeping this recipe from you would not make us team players. We are better than that (usually).
When we asked our parents to show us how to, one day, make cabbage rolls with egg-lemon sauce, they both got a little cabbage-twinkle in their eyes. It had been years, closer to never, since we had requested this recipe. There was just something ugh about cooked cabbage. So, as soon as we verbalized this request, the necessary ingredients were being pulled out of fridge and pantry, and aprons were being tied around waists. That day, our parents happened to have, not one, but two, heads of cabbage in the refrigerator. Doesn’t everyone? What began as a simple, thought-for-the-future, quickly became supper, and this post. It was all very serendipitous, and very, very emotional. With our meal complete, we settled down to taste these cabbage rolls (how else to write about them?). Suddenly, they became our long lost loves. Where had these rolls been all these years? They are truly, shockingly, delicious. No…more than delicious, they are kind of, phenomenal. The combination of the cabbage and the egg-lemon sauce gives a gift of tart sweetness which is hard to describe, but very easy to enjoy. Thanks team!
We love this soup. We love making it today, and we love reminiscing about how much fun it was to help our parents make it when we were young. It’s true that it is relatively simple and in terms of active cooking time, this soup doesn’t require much; there is a lot of waiting around. Waiting for the chicken to boil and for the stock to be made. Waiting then for the rice to cook. One of the key steps however is preparing the egg and lemon mixture, the avgolemono. This is what transforms a plain rice soup into a Greek classic.