Friday, September 16, 2011


Traditionally it's a delicious, rustic Italian side dish of sweet peppers, garlic and onions - maybe some potatoes or tomatoes as well (maybe)

I really wanted to make this since I had just purchased some beautiful produce from the mornings visit to my local Farmers Market - but I needed it to be the main course, not a side dish (thus the addition of potatoes and meatball things)
 It is also still a 'little' warm here in the Sacramento Valley so I am taking a big gamble that the family is going to want stew for dinner.

But of course, here I go, gambling!


A trip to your local Farmers Market! Not really....unless you can....then I strongly urge you go and make it a habit. It's totally worth it for all the fresh produce and the support of your local growers.



2 large red peppers (or 3 if they are small)
1/2 green pepper (or a whole one if it's small)
1 medium sized red onion
5 garlic cloves
4 or 5 red potatoes
4 cups beef broth ( I used 4 cups because I added potatoes and the meat - if you are not using either then only do 2 cups of broth - unless you like a lot of sauce)
2 pinches red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
olive oil
salt pepper
and a plate of what I call "meatball dumplings"
(recipe at end)

fresh basil for garnish

some really yummy bread to serve alongside


Farmers Market trip photo - only about a 1/4 of the spoils

Chop all this up - except the little red pepper - I didn't use that but Tate thought it was "SO cute" and that it needed to be in the photo.

note about chopping vegetables for any type of soup or stew: try to keep all the pieces pretty close to the same size. This will really help with the overall texture of your dish (i.e...some bites taste mushy but some bites are crispy) And the smaller the pieces the faster they cook so if my times here seem too long try cutting everything smaller and see if that get's your dinner done faster - I did a pretty big chop on all the vegetables here.

Fry all the meatball dumplings - probably in batches.Only flipping each dumpling 1 time. 
Remove and let rest on paper towels.
If there is a lot of grease you will need to strain some of that out - otherwise cook whatever residue is in the pot on medium high heat for another 2 minutes or so.
Add onions - cook about 5 minutes.

Add potatoes - cook 5 minutes - stir constantly to help the 'no stick' process and to make sure each potato is coated.

Stir then add all the herbs and a little salt and pepper. 
Cook for about 10 minutes or so then add the beef broth.
Bring to a boil then turn the heat down to medium - cover ALMOST all the way and let cook for about a half hour - or until the potatoes are almost done. 
Stir occasionally.

Add the meatball dumplings
Cover ALMOST all the way again and cook for another 10 minutes.

Garnish with some fresh basil and serve

Meatball Dumplings:
Almost 1 pound of ground beef (cause that's what I had)
2 eggs
1/3 cup of milk
teaspoon oregano
half teaspoon thyme 
teaspoon basil

Mix well.
It is going to seem rather soupy and odd looking.
Make sure to mix all the ingredients in really well then use a spoon to drop each dumpling in the pot. Only flip one time otherwise they might fall apart on you.

Not a very pretty picture but I hope this gives you an idea of what they look like before adding to the stew.

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