Beef and Rice Meatballs with Lemon-Olive Oil Sauce

Beef and Rice Meatballs with Lemon-Olive Oil Sauce

Beef and Rice Meatballs with Lemon-Olive Oil Sauce


Don’t use uncooked rice, even though many recipes do. If the rice is raw, the grains won’t cook through in time. Thawed frozen, store-bought shelf-stable or home-cooked leftover long-grain rice all do nicely. Make sure it’s at room temperature so the grains are easy to mash with a fork.


1 cup cooked long-grain white rice, room temperature

2 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into small pieces

1 cup low-sodium beef broth, divided

4 T. finely chopped fresh dill, divided

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

1 pound 85 percent lean ground beef

1 large egg yolk

3 medium garlic cloves, finely grated

2 tsp. dried oregano, divided

5 T. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 T. lemon juice


In a large bowl, mash the rice with a fork until smooth and pasty. Add the bread, ¼ cup of broth, 2 T. of dill, 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper. Using your hands, mix and mash the ingredients to a paste. Add the beef, egg yolk, half of the garlic and 1 tsp. of oregano, then mix with your hands until the mixture is homogeneous. Divide into 12 portions, form into smooth balls and place on a plate. Refrigerate, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat 2 T. of oil until shimmering. Add the meatballs and cook without disturbing until lightly browned on the bottoms, about 3 minutes. Carefully turn the meatballs and cook until browned on the second sides, about another 3 minutes. Add the remaining garlic and the remaining 1 tsp. oregano and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the remaining ¾ cup broth, then scrape up any browned bits. Bring to a simmer, then cover, reduce to medium-low and cook, gently stirring once or twice, until the centers of the meatballs reach 160°F, 5 to 7 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the meatballs to a serving dish and tent with foil. Bring the liquid in the pan to a boil over medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick enough that a spatula drawn through it leaves a trail, 2 to 3 minutes. Off heat, whisk in the remaining 3 T. olive oil and the lemon juice. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the meatballs and sprinkle with the remaining 2 T. dill.

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