Italian (Sicilian) Rice Balls w/ Chicken, Peas & Tomato Sauce

Rice balls are fabulous as a side dish or an entrée. This dish can be modified in various ways; for a healthier version opt for ground turkey or chicken rather than beef, or if you are a vegetarian omit the meat altogether. We hope you enjoy our first Italian recipe!

Ingredients

1 pound ground beef / turkey / chicken
1 jar of tomato sauce
2 tsp salt
1 bag sticky rice
½ bag frozen peas
1 small brick of mozzarella cheese
2 tsp parmesan cheese
1 small onion chopped
1 tbsp garlic finely chopped
1 package of bread crumbs
Vegetable oil for frying

Directions

Sauté the onions and garlic for a couple of minutes with a little oil, then add the ground meat. Sauté the meat until it is fully cooked. Season the meat with a pinch of salt.

In the meantime, begin to boil the frozen peas in a pot of water on the stovetop.

Cook the rice on the stovetop. Be sure to follow the instructions on the package. Once the rice is cooked, add some tomato sauce a little at a time to ensure that the rice remains sticky. Then add the parmesan cheese and mix well. Let the rice cool for 5 minutes. The rice needs to be fairly hot to make it easier to work with when forming the rice balls.

Place the bread crumbs into a large casserole dish. Cut up the mozzarella into small cubes and place into a bowl. Place the cooked meat and peas into two separate bowls.

Form a ball of rice in the palm of your hand. Insert your finger into the ball, and place a small amount of peas, ground meat, and 1-2 cubs of cheese into the middle of the ball. Close the ball by adding more rice.

Roll the ball into the bread crumbs until the ball is completely covered.

Fill the deep fryer pot with vegetable oil and place the rice balls into the oil until the ball becomes a light brown colour, approx 5-8 minutes.

Heat up the tomato sauce and generously slather some sauce on each ball before you serve.

ENJOY!

Meatballs with Tomato Sauce Over Rice (Yiouvarlakia in Greek)

In this video Eva shows us how to prepare another family favourite: Yiouvarlakia, more commonly known as meatballs with tomato sauce over rice. Like many of Eva’s recipes, this dish requires only a few simply ingredients and is not overly complicated to make. We hope you enjoy!

To prepare the meat:

  • 1 pound of lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 small onion graded
  • 2 medium cloves of garlic crushed
  • 1 tablespoon of dried mint (use fresh mint if it is available)
  • 1 tablespoon of parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper

To cook the meat:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 cup of tomato juice
  • ½ glass of water
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • ¼ cup of water

To prepare the rice:

  • 2 cups of rice
  • 4 cups
  • Pinch of salt

Using your hands, combine the ingredients together in a large bowl. Once you have thoroughly mixed the ingredients you may begin to shape the meatballs. Rather than roll the meat into balls, shape small portions of meat in an oval shape.

In a large pot over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic until light brown in colour. Add the tomato juice and ½ cup of water. Season with salt and pepper and cover the pot with the lid. Once the liquid has come to a boil you may add the meatballs. Carefully place the meatballs in the pot and lower the heat to medium.

In the meantime you may prepare the rice. Eva suggests that you boil the rice for a few seconds and then drain the water in order to remove as much starch as possible. Once you have washed the rice, set the water to boil again and cook the rice for 15 minutes. Remember to use 2 cups of water for 1 every cup of rice.
Once the liquid in the meatballs has begun to boil for a few minutes, lower the heat and allow the meatballs to simmer for 20 minutes.

To thicken the tomato sauce add 1 tablespoon of flour to ¼ cup of water, stir well, and pour the liquid into the tomato mixture (be sure to strain the liquid as you pour it in). Allow the meatballs to cook for another 15 minutes.

When serving this dish be sure to place a generous amount of tomato sauce over the rice. Enjoy!