Saturday, November 30, 2013

Meatball-Lima Bean Stew

This stew from my childhood really is so much better than it sounds!

Warm and hearty, this stew is wintertime comfort food at its best. And the leftovers are even richer and more flavorful the next day. I like to serve this with crusty bread or rolls, but it is equally satisfying as a solo dish.

The recipe includes directions for homemade meatballs which can be cooked right in the stew, but you can also save time by using purchased frozen meatballs. Or you can make the meatballs ahead, and add them, pre-cooked, right before serving.

Meatball-Lima Bean Stew

Large Lima Beans
  • 1 cup large lima beans, rinsed
  • 4 cups cold water
In a large pot, bring the beans to a boil. Boil two minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand, covered, one hour. (Optional step: drain liquid into a measuring cup. Discard; replace with the same amount of fresh water.)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour*
  • 1/2 cup cold water
Whisk flour into water to form a smooth paste and pour into the bean pot. Heat and stir till liquid thickens, forming a gravy.

*For gluten-free stew, omit this step. Thicken stew after baking by adding a slurry of 2 T. cornstarch and 2 T. cold water. Stir over medium heat till the "broth" turns to a sauce.
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1/2 cup diced onions
  • 1 can (or 2 cups) diced tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
Pour lima beans into a large oven-proof dish. Add vegetables and seasonings. Cover and bake for an hour and half at 350 F. Add [uncooked or frozen] meatballs and bake 45 minutes more. 

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs*
  • 1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup milk
Mix thoroughly with your hands. Shape into balls of desired size. You can let them cook in the hot stew, or bake them (in a pan with sides!) for 10 minutes at 350 and refrigerate or freeze them to use later.

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