Iraqi Beet Stew with Meatballs

Maybe this dish is evil. It  has been summoning me for weeks. I have copies of  Saveur magazine all over my house because it has lately become the only magazine I subscribe to. Since the food isn’t quite as American & Western Europen as other magazines it is really inspiring to veganize their recipes. They still usually put a big ole’ hunk of meat on the cover which means I try and keep my copies face down but I forgive them because Saveur even mentioned our local Boggy Creek farm as the best farm in the country. They have really amazing food photography. One of the photographers, Penny De Los Santos, is based in Austin and I love looking at the blog of her travels and photography, she is amazing.

It was actually the picture of this meal that really got my attention. I love beets and the stew was already vegan so that would make it really easy. I also liked that the meatballs had a lot of strong flavors which I thought would lead to a better seitan. For the first time I made vegan foil sausages in little balls instead of tubes. It worked phenomenally. I think I liked it better than the regular style. This was one of the best seitans I have ever made. Maybe the best! I want to make them again for an Italian style meal. I am so excited by how the stew turned out as well, usually meals that contain beets have such a strong beet flavor & you really can’t taste much else. That is great if you like beets, I love the beets and greens pasta that I make sometimes, but I have never had a beet stew where the flavors all melded together into something else entirely. This was really an amazing meal and didn’t even take that long to make considering I made the seitan. And it was healthy so I definitely want to make it again. You should too so I am going to write out the recipe. Maybe it will start to summon you.

For the beets

First, Split 6 beets into sixths & start to Cook in 6 cups of water. You can remember this at the 666 step! When the beets are soft you are going to add them to the stew but if you do that early make sure you save the beet stock.

For the Rice

Next steam your rice in a small saucepan or rice cooker I used

1 1⁄2 cups brown basmati rice
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. turmeric

For the Seitan

Next Mix the seitan ingredients, I mash everything together so it is kind of like a paste in a mortar & pestle & add the Vital Wheat Gluten last.

1/2 cup chickpeas
1 cup broth
1 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP soy sauce
1 tsp liquid smoke
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 Cups Vital Wheat Gluten
1/4 Cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup raisins, sliced
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 TBS pine nuts
1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
salt &  pepper

Split the dough into 6ths & wrap it in foilPlace the foil balls in a steamer. I put my bamboo steamer on top of the beet pot. The seitan will need to steam for 40 minutes

For the Stew

Make a spice paste in a mortar & pestle or food processor

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1⁄2 tsp. ground coriander
1 1⁄2 tsp. ground cumin
1 1⁄2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. turmeric
3⁄4 tsp. paprika
1⁄2 tsp. ground ginger
1⁄8 tsp. cayenne

In another pot heat up some olive oil and saute

1 medium onion, chopped

Once the onion is browned add the spice paste & 1⁄4 cup tomato paste & cook a couple more minutes until brown

Stir in the reserved beet juice, the juice of one lemon, and 2 TBSP sugar; simmer for 5 minutes

Once the meatballs have steamed for 40 minutes unwrap them and carefully place them in the stew potCook about 8 minutes. Skim surface of stew, add reserved beets, and cook for 2 more minutes. To serve, fluff rice with a fork and spoon it into serving bowls along with ladlefuls of the stew and meatballs; season and garnish with parsley. Invite me over and Enjoy!

11 thoughts on “Iraqi Beet Stew with Meatballs

  1. Trinity

    That is gorgeous! I love the photo up top- I think it’s definitely magazine quality. I seriously need to have a Lazy Smurf-inspired feast when I move into my new house- I drool over so many of your recipes!

  2. Jes

    Oh wow, that looks absolutely amazing. I still have an uncertain opinion on beets, but together I might like it all. Gorgeous photos too!

  3. Laura

    oh my GOD this looks awesome!! i LOVE beets and i LOVE seitan!!! plus, there are so, so many beets at the market. perfect!!!!!!!!

  4. Zoa

    Wah, what a gorgeous photograph, what a delicious sounding dish! If I weren’t already making a seitan thing today I’d be making this–and I will be making this soon; I even have the beets. Oh my god, the colours!

  5. fortheloveofguava

    I don’t know if I could get mr. guava on board with the beet stew but those neatballs look amazing!

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