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Potato and Olive Stew

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large zucchini, grated
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh chili pepper or 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1/2 cup bulgur
1/3 cup milk
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1 egg
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon ouzo or dry white wine
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1/4 cup olive oil
2 pounds new potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 large onions, peeled, quartered lengthwise and thickly sliced
5 to 6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon minced fresh chili pepper or 1/2 teaspoon dried pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cups chopped fresh or good-quality canned tomatoes
1 cup small black olives, rinsed and pitted
2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

To make meatballs, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over low
heat. Add zucchini and saute until softened, about 10 minutes.
Add onions and chili and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more. Remove
from heat and stir in buigur and milk. Let stand until wheat
absorbs liquid and becomes soft, 10 to 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, mix the ground beef with the egg, garlic, mint,
parsley and ouzo or wine. Stir in the zucchini and bulgur mixture.
Add Parmesan and salt and mix well. Let stand at least 1 hour or
prepare the night before.

Meanwhile, to make the stew, preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a
large, heavy and deep nonreactive skillet, heat the oil over
medium-high heat. Add potatoes and saute until golden brown on
all sides, about 15 minutes. Remove potatoes with a slotted spoon.

Add onions and cook until transparent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic,
chili pepper, wine, oregano, tomatoes and olives. Cook for 1
minute. Place potatoes in a clay or glass baking dish large enough
to hold them in a single layer. Season with salt.

Pour sauce over the potatoes and bake, adding a little water if
needed, until potatoes are tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Taste and
season with added salt if needed. Set aside and keep warm.

Preheat broiler. Take a heaping tablespoon of the meatball nuxture
in your hand and shape into a ball. Place on a broiler pan and
broil until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes, turning
once. Place the meatballs over the stew, sprinkle with parsley
and serve. Yield: Four servings.


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