Meatball Stew

A delicious and economical dish, Meatball Stew makes a hearty winter dinner. Serve with crusty bread, a tossed green salad and some good red wine.

2 oz. butter

2 medium-sized onions, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

4 oz. mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced

10 oz. canned beef consomme

5 fl. oz. water

5 oz. canned tomato puree

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 large potatoes, cut into

2-inch pieces 2 large carrots, scraped and cut into 2-inch lengths slices of bread, crusts removed

1 tablespoons milk

½ lb. lean minced beef

1 oz. fine dry breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

2 teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

First, make the meatballs. In a small bowl, soak the bread in the milk for 5 minutes. Remove the bread from the milk and place it in a large mixing bowl. Discard any leftover milk.

Add the remaining meatball ingredients to the bowl and, using your hands, mix and knead the ingredients until they are well blended. Shape the mixture into about 30 walnut-sized balls.

In a large frying-pan, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the meatballs, a few at a time, and cook them, turning occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until they are well and evenly browned. With a slotted spoon, remove the meatballs from the pan and place them in a bowl. Keep warm while you brown the remaining meatballs in the same way. Set aside.

Add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook them, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent but not brown. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occa-sionally, for 3 minutes.

Pour over the consomme and water and add the tomato puree, salt, pepper, oregano and Worcestershire sauce, mixing well.

Bring the mixture to the boil.

Reduce the heat to low and add the potatoes and carrots, stirring until they are well coated with the sauce. Cover the pan and cook the mixture, stirring occa-sionally, for 45 minutes.

Stir in the meatballs, recover the pan and simmer the stew for a further 15 to 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are thoroughly cooked.

Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the stew to a warmed serving dish. Serve at once.