Click here to view recipe.
Passover is almost upon us, and I’m looking forward to traveling to the Midwest to be with my family for the first Seder Saturday night. Since today is the first Wednesday of the month, I am featuring a simple recipe that I make year round but always during Passover, when wheat and leavening is not to be consumed.
Everyone who has ever sampled this one pot dish raves about the flavors. It is a warm, comforting meal-in-one, and I include a lot of vegetables in the pot along with the meat and matzo balls. In our house we call this “old man food” because we’ve found that older men love the familiar flavors and textures of the stew – it reminds them of food they ate in their youth!
Hearty Meatball Matzo Ball Stew
Serves 8 or more
- 2 lb very lean ground chuck (I always use grass fed organic meat)
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ c matzo meal ( or ½ c breadcrumbs if it is not Passover)
- 1 ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 1/3 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1 ½ c zucchini, cut into ¾ inch cubes
- 5 carrots, peeled and sliced (2 cups)
- 1 large parsnip, peeled and sliced (1 cup) or you can use all carrots and eliminate parsnips
- ½ yellow bell pepper, seeds removed cut into ½ inch dice
- 3 stalks celery, sliced ½ inch (3/4-1 cup)
- 1 large chopped onion, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch dice (2 cups)
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup tomato juice
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 recipe matzo balls
Mix first 5 ingredients, and gently divide the meat mixture evenly to make 12-14 meatballs, about 2 inches in diameter. Place these on a waxed paper-lined, flat tray while you prepare the stew.
Prep and place all the cut veggies in a 6 quart soup pot then add the tomato sauce, tomato juice, water and sugar (I add sugar or honey whenever I used canned tomatoes to cut down on the acidity and find it makes a big difference). Stir well to combine.
Top the veggie/liquid mix with formed raw meatballs. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover to let it slowly simmer for 35 minutes. Baste the meatballs every 10 minutes with juice, being careful not to break them apart.
Meanwhile, make one recipe of matzo balls (from a package or from scratch, depending on your time frame and how industrious you’re feeling). A package of Manischewitz matzo ball mix needs to have 2 eggs and 2 tablespoons of oil added, then formed into about 10 1-inch diameter balls. Handle the mixture gently with wet hands – do not over handle. After the raw dough has been refrigerated for 25 minutes, place the uncooked matzo balls into an 8-quart pot of rapidly boiling water. Make sure the pot is very large as the matzo balls tend to expand. Immediately cover the pot, turn down the heat but be sure the water continues to boil. Do not lift the lid until 25 minutes have passed.
After 25 minutes, remove the lid of the matzo ball pot and gently remove the cooked matzo balls and place them on top of the cooked meat ball/veggie stew. Cover the pot containing everything now and cook 10 minutes longer, basting at least once so the balls do not become dry. It thickens so be careful not to burn it!
When serving, be sure to top with some chopped parsley for color and consider serving along with a nice, simple green salad.
Note: once the meat balls and matzo balls are gone, I often repurpose the hearty liquid broth by adding more vegetables and even a scoop of cooked quinoa (also allowed during Passover since quinoa is not a grain). At times other than Passover, this is marvelous with fresh sliced challah dunked into the liquid stew. Steamed potatoes also make a good addition. YUM!!