It’s good to have a few recipes you can whip together that aren’t dependent on fresh food. The pantry or the freezer or some combination can be a lifesaver on busy nights. Cheap. Fast. Good! came to my rescue last night with this meatball stew. I had just bought a bag of pre-made meatballs at Costco and it was nice to have a new way to use them.
I made a few substitutions. Their recipe calls for fresh mushrooms; I used canned, eliminating the dependency on fresh produce. You could also just leave them out. Their recipe also calls for a packet of brown gravy mix, which I very rarely have. At one point I did buy the large container of it at Costco but after a couple of years I’d used less than half and threw it out, thinking to buy a new one but I haven’t gotten around to it. (Sometimes it’s still cheaper to buy their large containers even if you throw some away!) I was just going to make a white sauce and use that to thicken the stew but then I saw the small bottle of Kitchen Bouquet Browning & Seasoning Sauce so I used that to make up a bit of gravy, using butter as the fat. I served this over rice.
- 1 pound frozen mixed vegetables or about 3 cups leftover cooked vegetables
- 24 meatballs ,already cooked
- 1 -2 tsp olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- small can of mushrooms or 8 ounces fresh sliced mushrooms
- 1/4 cup Madeira or Marsala wine optional
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1-2 cups beef gravy
- If the vegetables are frozen, put them in a colander and rinse them under cold water.
- If the meatballs are frozen, pop them in the microwave for a few minutes to defrost.
- If you're serving over rice, start the rice cooking.
- Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or 4 quart soup pot. Cook the onion and garlic a few minutes of medium heat, stirring periodically. Add the mushrooms and cook a few more minutes. You want the onion to be softened and the mushrooms to be lightly cooked.
- Stir in the wine, water, broth, meatballs, and vegetables and bring to a boil. Reduce to a moderate boil and cook, with the pot partially covered, until everything is heated through, about 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, make your gravy if you need to.
- Stir in the gravy and cook another minute, stirring, to thicken the stew. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until ready to serve.
I served this meatballs stew over steamed rice and it was fantastically good. It makes a lot! The recipe says serves 6 generously and I think that’s pretty accurate. I wanted leftovers this time so I didn’t try to downsize the recipe. Next time, I’ll play with the portions and use fewer meatballs and more vegetables.