This is a hearty, simple supper, so much more than the sum of its parts. Meatballs in a tin may be considered childish, but they make for a quick and easy standby, and because they are already cooked through in the canning process, this dish can be thrown together in mere minutes. As with all tomato-based stews, it benefits from a resting period to develop the flavour, so if you have time, allow it to cool completely, then bring back to the heat to serve. I used black-eyed beans in mine when I first made this, as it’s what I had to hand at the time, but butter beans would be more substantial and cannellini will break down to give a creamy base note. So really, any bean will do.
First, peel and roughly dice your onion and toss into a large pan. Peel and slice your garlic, or measure in the paste. Add the oil, stir, bring to a gentle heat and cook for a few minutes to start to soften.
Pour in the tomatoes and add the stock – or water and a stock cube. Drain and halve the potatoes and add to the pan with the drained carrots, then add the meatballs, including the tomato sauce from the tin. Drain the white beans and add those too. Stir in the herbs and vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil very briefly, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 10–15 minutes to warm through. And that’s it! You can cook it for longer if you want to, to thicken the sauce and develop the flavour, but it’s ready to eat from now if you like.
Keeps for 2 days in the fridge in an airtight container. Not recommended for freezing.
© Jack Monroe, 2020