Cozy Meatball and Mushroom Stew
- 400 g ground beef
- 8 button mushrooms
- 300 g roughly chopped eggplant
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 tsp butter
- 1 egg
- ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 can 400g of whole tomatoes
- 2 ½ cups chicken stock
- a pinch of nutmeg
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp + ½ tsp + ½ tsp salt
- a pinch of black pepper
- 1/2 tbsp sugar
- 4 round bread buns
- Dissolve 1 tablespoon of salt in 3 cups of water, and add the eggplant. Submerge the eggplant by weighing them down with a small plate placed on top. Allow these to soak for 2-3 minutes, then drain and squeeze out the excess water from the eggplants.
- Place the onion in a microwave-safe bowl and add the butter. Cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for about 2 minutes. Then set this aside to slightly cool. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and slice them in half.
- Place the ground beef, nutmeg, pepper and ½ teaspoon of salt into a bowl, and knead together. Add the egg and mix again. Then add the panko and half of the onions, mix together, and shape into 16 meatballs. Drizzle the olive oil into a frying pan set to medium heat, and brown the meatballs. These meatballs will quite soft, so be gentle when stirring.
- Pour the canned tomatoes into a pot, and crush them with a fork. Add the remaining onions, chicken stock, sugar, bay leaf and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and set to medium-high heat. Once it comes to a boil, add the meatballs, keeping the juices in the pan.
- Set the same pan that you cooked the meatballs in to medium heat, and cook the eggplant for about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, mix together with the eggplant, and then add this directly into the pot. Loosely cover the pot with a lid, and boil for 15-20 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
- Slice the top off of the bread bowls, and scoop out the soft bread on the inside, making sure to keep the outer crust intact. Place the bread bowls on individual plates, and fill the bowls with the stew.
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