Turkish Meatball Stew

Meatball stew served in a bowl and a spoon inside it.

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Hearty meatball stew with peas, potatoes and carrots. 


For Meatballs:

  • 1 medium onion, pureed

  • 1 slice of stale bread, crumbled (or 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs)

  • 1 egg

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 500g (1.102 pounds) ground beef (10%fat)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil to fry meatballs

For Stew:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1/2 cup pureed tomato

  • 2 medium sized potatoes, diced

  • 2 medium sized carrots, diced

  • 2 cups hot water

  • 1/2 cup peas, fresh, canned or frozen

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, for garnish



  1. In a large bowl, combine pureed onion, crumbled stale bread, egg, salt, black pepper, cumin and olive oil. Add in ground beef and using your hand, mix just until everything is combined. 

  2. Shape it into mini balls.

  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan.

  4. Cook the meatballs in batches over medium high heat, shaking the pan occasionally. 2-3 minutes per side. Don’t overcrowd the pan. They don’t have to be cooked completely. They are good if all the sides are brown. 

  5. Put the cooked meatballs on a plate.


  1. Heat oil in a pan. Add in tomato paste and cook it for a minute. Add in pureed tomato and cook together for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

  2. Add in diced potatoes and carrots and cook them for 5 minutes. 

  3. Add in the meatballs.

  4. Pour hot water, stir and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. 

  5. Add in peas, salt and pepper and continue cooking for 5 minutes. 

  6. Remove from the heat, garnish with parsley and serve.


  • Don’t overcrowd the frying pan when you are browning the meatballs. If you do, the pan will not get hot enough and the meatballs will end up being steamed, rather than fried. This will give them a bland color and semi-cooked flavor. Not the nicely browned and caramelized meatballs you are looking for!
  • Remember, the aim of frying the meatballs is simply to give them some color on the outside. They don’t have to be completely cooked. They will finish cooking once they have been added to the stew.
  • You can use either a heavy-bottom oven-proof pan to make these meatballs or a dutch oven.
  • If you want to save yourself some time, you can also pre-make these meatballs and freeze them. Once you are ready to use them in this stew, you can simply thaw them for a couple of minutes, then add them directly into the stew.
  • You can also buy pre-made frozen meatballs if you don’t want to make meatballs from scratch.
  • Adjusting the consistency of the meatball stew is incredibly easy! Simply add more water to make it saucier (runnier) and add less to make it thicker. The exact amount of water you will end up using will also depend on the amount of heat you use.