Lamb Meatball Stew

Come on and get cozy with this bowl of Lamb Meatball Stew featuring potatoes, kale and some smokey Spanish paprika.

Come on and get cozy with this bowl of Lamb Meatball Stew featuring potatoes, kale and some smokey Spanish paprika.

If there was a way to easily describe seasonal eating, I think a stew would do it. Stews are the epitome of giving your body what it needs based on the seasonal circumstances around you. Nothing screams comfort like a big ol’ bowl of stew, am I right?

And while we are all familiar with the classics, I’m thinking your stew game could use a little boost this winter.

Enter, this cozy pot of Lamb Meatball Stew. Filled with hearty lamb meatballs, Yukon gold potatoes and kale it also includes a hint of smokey Spanish paprika which is the perfect note on a blistery, cold day.

Make a big pot and eat well all week - this dish is perfect for meal prep!

Make a big pot and eat well all week - this dish is perfect for meal prep!

One of the ways I like to eat a balanced diet is to make sure I eat a variety of foods which is why I love using lamb in the meatballs here instead of beef or pork. Lamb is incredibly nutritious and is often naturally pasture-raised. If you’ve been adverse to trying lamb, start with these meatballs as the flavor is much milder than other cuts of the meat.

The biggest piece of advice I can give when cooking this stew is to season as you go. So many people try making stews or soups and get frustrated that the flavor is lacking. Especially with this dish which contains potatoes, it’s important to season at every step.

A few other notes about this dish:

  • Substitutions: Feel free to use any hearty, winter green in place of the kale such as Swiss Chard or even mustard greens. Always though, hold off adding these to the end.

  • Make Ahead: I love meal prepping a stew on Sundays to enjoy all week long during the winter. While you can certainly make the stew as outlined here and store in airtight containers, you may find the kale wilts a lot upon reheating it. Personally, I have no issues with this but if you do, simply prepare the soup up until you are about to add the kale and meatballs. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. In a separate container, prep your chopped kale and place the cooked meatballs in another airtight container. When you are ready to eat, simply add the kale and meatballs to the stew mixture either in a pot on the stove or in the microwave!

Lamb Meatball Stew

Serves: 4 - 6

Time: 1 Hour

Ingredients:

1 cup finely diced onion (about 1 small onion)

1 clove garlic, finely minced

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 lb. ground lamb

1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika

1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs (you can use gluten-free if you would like)

3 tablespoon water

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the Stew

1 cup diced onion (about 1 small onion)

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika

5 sprigs thyme, stems removed

2 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes, diced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon sea salt, divided

5 cups low-sodium beef or chicken stock or broth

6-8 ounces kale, stems removed, leaves finely chopped (about 3 cups packed)

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions:

1. Prepare the meatballs. Place a large dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil and add the 1 cup diced onion and cook for 5 minutes, until translucent and softened. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Let cool slightly.

2. In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, paprika and water. Add the ground lamb, beaten egg and the cooked onion and garlic mixture. Season with the salt and pepper. Using your hands, gently combine until evenly incorporated and the mixture will hold its shape when rolled into a meatball.

3. Form the mixture into 24 meatballs (about 1 tablespoon sized) and set aside.

4. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the meatballs one at a time being sure not to crowd them. I find it is best to do this in at least two batches.

5. Let the meatballs cook for about 5 minutes before turning them to the other size. You will know the meatball is ready when they easily release from the pan. Continue cooking until all of the meatballs are browned (this helps them stay together in the stew and keeps all their deliciousness inside!) Remove the meatballs and set aside on a plate.

6. Using a towel, drain out any excess fat from the pot as well as any really burnt bits (careful if it is hot). Keep any browned bits though - they will help flavor the stew!

7. Begin to prepare the stew by adding the 1 tablespoon of oil to the pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until translucent and softened. Add the garlic, thyme and paprika and cook for another 1 minute, stirring frequently.

8. Add the diced potatoes, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the tomato paste. Toss to coat the potatoes with the tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 5 minutes, pour in the broth or stock and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any of the bits of the bottom of the pan.

9. Let come to a low boil before reducing the heat to low and simmering for 25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Taste the stew before seasoning with the remaining salt and pepper.

10. Add the chopped kale and stir well to incorporate before gently adding in the meatballs. Cook for 2-3 minutes before serving - enough to wilt the kale and warm the meatballs.