Lamb Meatball Soup with Vegetables

This family recipe combines flavours from the Mediterranean, the Middle East and Central Europe.  Variations of the recipe are popular in Romania, Bulgaria and in the East Adriatic region.  It can be made as a starter, or as I did, for as a hearty main course.  It is ideal for using up all your leftover vegetables.  It’s the ultimate in one pot cooking; serve it with some crusty bread and hey presto – a delicious meal!

Lamb Meatball Stew
Lamb Meatball Stew

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Romanian Chicken Ghiveci

Romanian Chicken Ghiveci
Romanian Chicken Ghiveci

Stews are big in Romania and all over Eastern Europe.  One pot dishes, over time, provided a hearty sustenance for first, peasants in the fields and later, workers in the factories.  These dishes are always packed full of flavour from in season produce and, traditionally, home-grown herbs.  Served with a side portion of rice or dark rye bread, traditional meals are not only easy but can also be a really cheap way of feeding your 5,000 (family and/or friends).  I cooked this for my family and it proved to be every bit delicious as I had anticipated.

 

Ingredients

4 tbsp vegetable oil

1 mild onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 red peppers, seeded and sliced

1.5kg / 3 1/2 lb chicken pieces (thighs, drumsticks etc. as chicken on the bone is best for flavour)

3 potatoes, diced

1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

1 tsp chopped fresh marjoram

1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

3 carrots, cut into chunks

1/2 small celeriac cut into chunks

120 ml dry white wine

2 courgettes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chopped fresh rosemary, marjoram to garnish

Rye bread and/or white rice to serve

Instructions

Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole

Add the onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes until soft

Add the red peppers

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Place the chicken pieces in a casserole and brown gently on all sides

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After about 15 minutes, add the tomato puree, potatoes, herbs, carrots, celeriac, white wine and season to taste

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Cover and cook over a gentle heat for 50 minutes

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Add the sliced courgettes 5 minutes before the end of cooking

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Season to taste

Garnish with herbs and serve with a portion of white rice or dark rye bread

Serve

Serve!