Pascale’s Kitchen: Warming stews

This week, I’m bringing you recipes for three different stews.

 Chicken with peas and potatoes (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Chicken with peas and potatoes
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

When it’s cold outside, there’s nothing better than coming home to a warm pot of stew whose aroma has spread throughout the house. 

I love preparing stews for a number of reasons. Firstly, they are easy to make and don’t require many steps or complicated techniques. Secondly, to make a stew, you just add all the ingredients to one big pot, combining your protein together with grains, legumes and vegetables. And lastly, I love that you can swap out meat for chicken, use any type of grain or beans, and add whichever vegetables you happen to have on hand. 

The main rule of thumb to follow when making a stew is that it needs to be cooked over a low flame for a few hours. This is the only way you’ll get the deep flavor and soft texture of a good stew. In general, stews should cook for at least an hour and a half. If you have the time, two-and-a-half hours is even better. 

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This week, I’m bringing you recipes for three different stews. The first one is beef stew with potatoes, cinnamon and chickpeas that has a wonderful deep flavor. The second is especially loved by children and adults alike: meatballs cooked in a tomato sauce with pumpkin and broad beans. The third recipe is chicken legs with green peas cooked in a spicy sauce, which can be served with just about any side dish. 

 Beet stew with potatoes and cinnamon (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN) Beet stew with potatoes and cinnamon (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
BEEF STEW WITH POTATOES & CINNAMON

Makes 6-8 servings. 

  • 4 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 600 gr. beef shoulder, cut into medium-sized cubes
  • 2 carrots or pumpkin, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large tomato, cut into pieces
  • 5-6 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 Tbsp. sweet paprika
  • ½ tsp. spicy paprika
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. chicken soup powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup dry chickpeas, soaked in water overnight and then drained
  • 6 medium (or 8 small) potatoes, cut into pieces
  • Parsley, for decoration

Heat the oil in a large pan and sauté onion until it turns translucent. Add the meat and sauté, stirring continuously until it turns gray. 

Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, cinnamon, spices and water. Mix well, cover and cook for another 25 minutes. 

Add the chickpeas and cook for another 30 minutes. Add the potatoes and carrots or pumpkin, and cook over a low flame for 30 minutes until the meat and vegetables have softened and the sauce has thickened. 

Taste and adjust seasoning. 

Decorate with parsley and serve hot. 

Level of difficulty: Medium.Time: 90 minutes.Status: Meat. 

CHICKEN WITH PEAS & POTATOES

Makes 6-8 servings. 

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 6-8 chicken legs
  • 3 medium onions, sliced thinly
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 celery stalks, with the leaves
  • ¼ tsp. turmeric
  • Salt, to taste
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. sweet paprika
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 6-8 medium potatoes, whole
  • 1 package frozen peas
  • 2.5–3 cups boiling water

Heat oil in a large, shallow pan. Add the chicken legs and sauté for a few minutes, turning them on every side, until they change color. Transfer the chicken to a plate. 

Add another tablespoon or two of oil to the pan and sauté the onion until it becomes translucent. Add the garlic and celery and sauté a few more minutes. Add all the spices, tomato paste and potatoes and sauté another 2-3 minutes. Add the peas and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Pour in the water and add the chicken legs. Stir and bring back to boil. Lower the flame and cook another 90 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Taste and adjust seasoning before serving. 

Level of difficulty: Easy.Time: 2 hours.Status: Parve.

 Meatballs in tomato sauce with broad beans (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN) Meatballs in tomato sauce with broad beans (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
MEATBALLS IN TOMATO SAUCE WITH BROAD BEANS

Makes 6-8 servings. 

Meatballs: 

  • 500 gr. ground beef (or beef/chicken mixture)
  • 1 potato, peeled and grated
  • 2 onions, grated and drained of liquid
  • 15 parsley sprigs, chopped
  • 8 cilantro sprigs, chopped
  • 4 oregano or basil sprigs, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. chili pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. silan
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baharat
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon

Sauce: 

  • 4 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, cut into pieces
  • 5-6 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 Tbsp. sweet paprika
  • ½ tsp. spicy paprika
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. chicken soup powder
  • ½ tsp. pilpelchuma or chili pepper
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4-5 cups water
  • 150 gr. pumpkin, cut into small pieces
  • 3 cups small broad beans, frozen

Topping: 

  • ½ cup parsley, chopped

To prepare the meatballs, place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Form balls from the mixture that are 3-4 cm. in diameter, place them on a large tray and put them in the fridge to set. 

To prepare the sauce, heat the oil in a large pot and fry the onion until it turns translucent. Add the chopped tomato, tomato paste and garlic. Mix and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the cinnamon stick, spices and water. Mix, cover and bring to a boil. Add the meatballs and bring back to a boil. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. 

Add the pumpkin and beans. Stir gently. If needed, add another ½ to ¾ cup water. Bring to a boil, then taste and adjust seasoning. Cook over a low flame for another hour. 

Serve with white rice, couscous, pasta or mashed potatoes. Decorate with sprigs of parsley. 

Level of difficulty: Medium.Time: 2 hours.Status: Meat. 

Translated by Hannah Hochner.