We love a cookin’ show around here, as my 4-year-old calls them, and I saw the episode of “Giada at Home” where she makes her hearty meatball stew a few years ago on vacation. (There’s something magical about having access to cable TV on vacation, I’m just saying.) Even though it was summer and we were at the beach, I wanted a bowl of meatball stew something fierce.
It’s even more perfect this time of year, with its big, tender meatballs (that are super flavorful thanks to a mix of ground beef and Italian sausage), and lots of big chunks of vegetables. I love the richness of the broth from searing the meatballs and sautéing the veggies, and the hint of spice from red pepper flakes warms you right up. Total comfort food!
You start by blending the meat with a few other ingredients to make the meatballs. Work it gently together, then roll them right up! The number of meatballs is really up to you, but I usually divide the meat mixture into rough quadrants, then form 4 meatballs from each section. Sear the meatballs while you cut up the veggies, then set them aside (they finish cooking in the broth later).
Now the onions, peppers, and mushrooms get some time to brown. So much flavor is being developed here! Add a can of tomatoes, green beans (mine were frozen), and chicken broth, and throw the meatballs back in. Let the whole thing simmer for about 20 minutes, and dinner is served!
As good as meatball stew is on the first night (especially with a little sprinkle of parmesan cheese!), the leftovers are amazing. The flavors are just that much more happily married. Jay is out of town this week, and so of course today it rained all.thelivelong.day. The good news, though, is that I had a bowl of this meatball stew left over, and I’m not (very) ashamed to say that I ate it at 10:45 am after I took its picture.Print
Giada’s Meatball Stew.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 4-5 servings
For the meatballs:
- 1 slice soft white sandwich bread, torn into pieces and mashed with 3 Tablespoons water
- 8 oz ground chuck
- 2 sweet Italian sausages, casings removed (about 8 oz)
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley (or 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
For the stew:
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (divided)
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper (divided)
- 8 oz white mushrooms, quartered
- 4 oz green beans, cut into 1″ pieces (fresh or frozen is fine)
- 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I use about half this amount if I’m feeding kids)
- 2 cups chicken broth (or 2 cups water + 2 teaspoons Better than Bouillon chicken base)
- Parmesan cheese, for serving
- Blend the meatball ingredients gently with your fingers. Divide the mixture into approximate quarters in the bowl and roll each quadrant into 3 or 4 meatballs (for 12-16 total). Heat 2 Tablespoons of the oil in a large pot over medium heat for about a minute, then add half of the meatballs. Cook for 2 minutes, undisturbed, then turn them onto an uncooked side and cook 2 more minutes, then turn again for 2 minutes. (Sometimes if I feel like there’s a “4th side”, I give it part of the final cooking time.) Remove the browned meatballs to a plate and repeat the searing process with the remaining meatballs, and set them aside, too. I like to use a timer and cut up the vegetables while the meatballs cook!
- Depending on how much fat has cooked out of the meat, you may need to add the remaining 2 Tablespoons of oil. Add the onions and peppers and half of the salt and pepper, and cook about 4 minutes. Push them to the perimeter of the pot and add the mushrooms and remaining salt and pepper and saute 5 minutes, stirring all the veggies together after the first couple of minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and the meatballs and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 20 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, and serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and crusty bread!
I adapted the recipe from Giada de Laurentiis. The first few times I made this recipe, we were low-carbing it so I omitted her step of dusting the meatballs with flour (which would thicken the broth) and didn’t use the potato. (I’ve also made the meatballs without the bread – they still have great flavor, but the texture is a little more chewy. But then it’s a paleo-friendly dinner!) Check out the original recipe if those additions interest you!
I’ve rarely had enough soup to freeze, but it does freeze well!
Barb Ingram says
I’m reading this mid-morning on a chilly day, and wishing I had a bowl of it for a second breakfast right now!
Alas, I had hoarded it all to myself! ;o)