Recipe: Baked meatballs in lentil, mushroom & tomato stew.

In our new place, Nic’s mother gave us a cast iron pot covered in glossy dark blue enamel and a bright white interior.

What better way to ruin it with a warm, hearty dish.

I don’t care that it’s basically already summer – today is a top of 37°C. My chances to break it out are running out quickly so I whipped this one up in under an hour for a mid-week dinner (actual prep time, about 15 minutes).

I needed a cheap and easy dinner because I already had worked a 10-hour day and well, frankly, I cbf’d.

Using some pork mince and a few cheap ingredients, I managed to make something pretty damn tasty. I winged it completely so I’m pretty glad it turned out successfully. Also, it looked really pretty with the nautical colour theme of red in a blue and white pot. So I’m blogging this. To remember for future reference.

Makes: 3-4 serves

Ingredients:

  • 500g pork mince
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 400g canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups lentils, pre-soaked
  • 250g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cube of chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, soaked in a bit of milk to form a paste

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200°C.
  2. Mix pork mince with soaked breadcrumbs, half of the onions and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roll into meatballs – keep in mind, smaller ones will cook quicker.
  3. Over medium heat, cook remainder onions with a bit of oil in the pot until translucent.
  4. Add mushrooms and lentils. Cook for a further ~5 minutes.
  5. Plop in meatballs and pour in diced tomatoes. Use the can to add enough water to cover meatballs. Crumble in stock cube (I find bashing it in it’s wrapper with a wooden spoon helps). Season with a bit more salt and pepper.
  6. Bring stew to the boil. Cover with lid and pop in the oven for 30-40 minutes.
  7. Go do something else.
  8. Come back for deliciousness. The lentils will have absorbed all the flavourful liquid and will smell amazing. Serve alone, or with a bit of crusty bread to soak up juices.

Notes:

The stew will be a little bit liquidy at the bottom so make sure to give a good stir before serving.

Other tasty options, instead of meatballs (i.e. you can’t be bothered making meatballs), are chipolatas or Italian sausages. I threw in 3 random leftover chipolatas – you can see one poking out in the top left!

Definitely ad lib with some fresh/dried herbs if you can bothered/have any on hand – the wonderful thing about stews is that they pretty much take up the flavour of anything.

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