In the European shtetl, all families had to share one stove. Each family had their time slot to use the one burner available. Balabustas had to be innovative enough to make a meal in one pot that would feed and satisfy their families. This is an authentic recipe
- 4lb.(2 kilo) meat roast (try to buy a soft variety) -
- 4 potatoes, cut into big chunks -
- 2 sweet potatoes, cut into big chunks -
- 5 carrots, sliced -
- 1-1 ¼ cups sugar (this is not a mistake!) -
- Salt to taste, optional -
- 2 cups water -
- Potato "Kneidlach"" -
- 3 potatoes, grated and drained -
- 2 eggs -
- Salt to taste -
- A few Tbsp matzo meal or potato starch -
1. Place meat on bottom of an 8 quart (liter) pot. Top with vegetables. Pour the sugar on top of the veggies. Add 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, lower flame and cook for 2 hours. You may have to add more water midway through cooking. Check and adjust if necessary.
2. Shortly before the 2 hours are finished, begin making the potato "kneidlach." (If you prepare the mixture too far in advance, it will turn grey.) In a small bowl, mix the grated potatoes and eggs. Add salt to taste. Add as much matzo meal or potato starch needed to thicken. The consistency should be somewhere between potato kugel and kneidlach. Form little balls (slightly smaller than ping-pong balls) and drop on top of the veggies in the pot (not in the water). Cook 1 hour more. Close fire.
3. To serve: Prepare a big oval-shaped platter. Place meat in chunks in center (this is a more vintage look, as opposed to elegant slices), kneidlach on one side, and the caramelized vegetables on the other. Serve gravy separately.
Note: Aside from the ease in preparation, this recipe appeals to kids as well as adults. The meat and veggies become very soft and there are no onions (as there often are in meat dishes) for kids to pick out or even spit out (together with the meat!). I tried this recipe using a brisket which slices nicely, and it was delicious as well. My family actually preferred when I made it with a cheaper cut of meat: lean turkey meat cut into chunks.