This Iraqi Meatball and Dill Stew is one of the less common Iraqi “express” stew recipes. I say uncommon because most Iraqi stews are cooked with a low simmer for at least an hour, some several hours.
Using minced meat instead of meat chunks with bone drastically cuts down on time. While delicious, these express stews are somewhat looked down upon compared to the hours’ long traditional stew. The liquid element of the stew is mostly just the broth, hence making it part of the “white” stew category. Using aromatic dill umps the flavour, but you can just as easily use mild fresh coriander instead. Also, un-traditionally, this Iraqi Meatball and Dill Stew is thickened with some milk-dissolved cornstarch and tempered egg yolk.
Iraqi Meatball and Dill StewPrint Recipe
- Base Ingredients
- 1/2 cup of split peas
- 1 onion, whole, peeled
- 6 whole cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon of vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- Meatball Ingredients
- 450 grams of minced lamb
- 1 egg white
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon of 7 spice mix
- Stew Ingredients
- 1 egg yolk
- 3 tablespoons of cornflour
- 1/2 cup of cold milk
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
- Soak the split peas for at least an hour.
- Stud the whole onion with the cloves, place in a pot with the bay leaf, vinegar, salt, drained split peas, and 6 cups of water.
- Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes; discard the studded onion and bay leaf.
- Meanwhile, mix all the meat ingredients and form meatballs, erring on smaller ones (we call them birds’ heads or sparrows’ heads).
- Drop the meatballs in the simmering liquid, bring back to boil, and simmer 10 minutes more.
- Dissolve the cornstarch in the cold milk, and stir it into the simmering liquid.
- Bring back to boil and simmer 5 minutes more, stirring constantly.
- Whisk the egg yolk in a small bowl, adding a ladle of the hot liquid from the pot to temper it.
- Add the yolk mixture into the simmering pot, adding the chopped fresh dill.
- Simmer gently 5 to 10 minutes more, taste to adjust seasonings, and serve with rice (preferably mung bean rice).