Prep 45 mins
Cook 1 hr
This is a very popular recipe in the Cajun part of South Louisiana, which is frequently referred to as "Acadiana." If there's one thing we folks in Acadiana love, it's our rice and gravy! I have often said that when I die, if wherever I end up doesn't have rice and gravy, I'll know I didn't make it to Heaven. Cajun Meatball Stew starts off with your typical dark brown roux. Some people prefer to buy it in stores, ready made. I've never understood why, because it's not that difficult to make from scratch. The main thing you must do is stir, constantly, over a medium high heat, never leaving the stove until it's almost the color of chocolate syrup. If you burn it, throw it out and start over, because it will give your gravy a very bitter taste. When I have the time, I prefer to make this the day ahead, separate the meatballs from the gravy, and refrigerate. Not only does this cause the fat from the meat to rise to the top and harden for easy removal, but, enhances the flavor.
- 3⁄4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups onions, finely chopped
- 1 1⁄2 cups bell peppers, finely chopped
- 1 cup celery, finely chopped
- water or beef broth
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 lbs ground chuck
- 2 large eggs
- 1⁄4 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1⁄2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1⁄3 cup plain breadcrumbs
- salt and cayenne pepper
- 1⁄4 cup green onion, chopped
- In heavy dutch oven (preferably cast iron or cast aluminum), heat oil over medium high heat. Add flour. Stir, constantly, until flour is dark brown, being very careful not to burn. Flour should be almost the color of chocolate syrup. This is your roux, which is the base of your gravy.
- To the flour mixture, add 2 cups of the chopped onion, 1 cup of the bell pepper and 1/2 cup of the celery. Reduce heat to medium, cooking until onions are transparent. Add enough water or beef broth to fill pot 2/3 of the way. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
- While this is cooking, make meatballs by combining ground chuck, remaining onions, bell pepper, and celery, 2 cloves of the minced garlic, eggs, milk, worcestershire sauce, 1/4 cup of the parsley, bread crumbs, and salt and cayenne pepper. Mix well.
- Form into whatever size meatballs you prefer. I like to make mine about 1 1/2 - 2" round. One trick to making tender meatballs is not to pack the meat too firmly. Just form them enough for them to hold together. Also, do not pre-cook the meatballs after rolling.
- Add meatballs to the gravy. DO NOT STIR FOR AT LEAST 20 MINUTES! Stirring them will break them apart. Cook over medium low heat until gravy is desired consistency. Adjust seasoning with salt and cayenne pepper. Skim as much of the fat as you can off of the top.
- Stir in remaining garlic, parsley, and chopped green onions. Cook for 5 minutes longer.
- Serve over hot cooked rice. I usually serve this with a side of early green peas or corn, and a fruit salad of some kind, such as pineapple, topped with grated cheddar cheese.
- As for the prep and cooking times, I just took a wild guess. Hehe!