Meatball stew

 I love stew. My mum makes an excellent stew and I devoured copious quantities as a child (and I still do). I grew up in Calcutta where the winters are shamefully mild but that never deterred us from diligently stewing meats and winter veggies.

I now live in Delhi where winters are significantly harsher and stews are totally justified. I made a simple meatball stew which was perfect for a cold winter day!

For the meatballs

  • Minced mutton: 500 gms.
  • Garlic: 2 cloves (finely chopped)
  • Eggs: 2
  • Flour/breadcrumbs: half a cup
  • Salt: 1 teaspoon
  • Freshly ground pepper: ½ teaspoon
  • Sunflower/olive oil: for frying meatballs (about 1 cup)

For the stew

  • Potatoes: 3 medium (quartered)
  • Carrots: 4-5 (cut into large cubes)
  • Turnips: 3 (quartered) (optional)
  • Onions: 2 large (sliced)
  • Garlic: 6 cloves (finely chopped)
  • Fresh basil/rosemary: a few sprigs (roughly chopped)
  • Sunflower oil: 2 tablespoons
  • Water: 6 cups
  • Dried oregano: a pinch
  • Chill flakes: a pinch (optional)
  • Salt: 1 teaspoon

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Rinse the minced and squeeze out all the water. In a large bowl, add the minced meat, garlic, salt and pepper, and using a meat hammer or a pestle hammer the meat for a couple of minutes to soften it. Add both the eggs and the flour/breadcrumbs to the meat and mix it thoroughly. (At this point, test the consistency by making a meatball – the mixture should not stick to your fingers, add a little bit of flour/breadcrumbs if it continues to stick.) Let it stand for ten minutes. Grease your palms well and make golf ball sized meatballs.

In a wok, heat about 6 tablespoons of oil. Fry the meatballs on medium heat until golden. Drain the excess oil and set aside.

In a large stew pot, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the garlic and the onions and fry for about 3 minutes on medium heat or until the onions become translucent. Add the potatoes and the carrots and fry for another 5 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, add the meatballs, salt, pepper, oregano and chilli flakes (if using) and let it stew for another 20 minutes. Check if the potatoes are done – they should be firm but cooked at this point – boil for another 5-7 minutes if the potatoes are undercooked. Add the basil/rosemary to the pot and boil for two minutes.

Serve hot with crusty bread or steamed rice.

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