Albondigas - Spanish Meatballs

Albondigas - Spanish Meatballs
Albondigas - Spanish Meatballs

If spicy sauce and meatballs are your thing, this recipe is perfect for you. The sauce is more of a salsa consistency, not really a runny sauce, and the chunks give a really nice texture to the meatballs. This is considered a tapas dish, which means that it is a small, savory dish that would be considered an appetizer in many cultures, but is more of a bar food to be served with beer in Hispanic cultures. In some bars in Spain and Mexico, these tapas have become their own unique cuisine. Tapas can either be cold or warm, depending on the context or what you are drinking with them.

You can use whatever meat you want in this recipe. We used a half pound of beef and a half pound of pork, but there are even “meatball meat” mixes available at many grocery stores, which are basically just premixed ground pork and beef. These meatballs are fried in a pan that has been coated with three tablespoons of olive oil, but you could bake them instead of frying them. This would allow for the grease to bake out of the meatballs, if you are into that sort of thing.

The tomato sauce called for a glass of wine, which Jeff pointed out could be one of those comically huge glasses or a shot glass, so he guessed 6 ounces. He took it one step further to guess that this would be a dry white wine, so he used standard white cooking wine for this recipe. It’s hard to make a recipe when something is as vague as “a glass of wine” but leave it to Jeff to figure out the most perfect option. As per usual, his finished product was exquisite. We had people darting into the test kitchen trying to get a bite before the photo shoot was even done.

To ensure you have perfectly peeled and deseeded tomatoes, Jeff recommends cutting out the core of the tomato and then marking the bottom with an “x.” Throw your tomatoes into a pot of boiling water for exactly 60 seconds, and then douse them in an ice bath to quickly halt the cooking process. You don’t want them to be too mushy. After they’ve cooled, you can easily remove the skins and scoop out the seeds and undesirable insides with your finger or a spoon.

Once your chunky sauce has been prepared, pour it right on top of the meatballs and enjoy. These can be shoved into your mouth as one big bite and then chewed rapidly so no one sees your face full of food, or you can eat them in a few bites, slowly savoring the flavor. The choice is yours.

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  1. In a large bowl, combine ingredients until mixed thoroughly.
  2. Cover and place in refrigerator for about 2 hours. This will make mixture easier to handle.
  3. Heat olive oil in a pan.
  4. Add meatballs in batches. Not crowding the pan will result in better overall browning of the meat. Cook until golden brown.
  5. Remove from pan and keep meatballs warm in oven.
  6. In a saucepan, add oil along with chiles, and heat up. Add onion and garlic and sauté until opaque.
  7. Add wine, tomatoes, and tomato paste, stock, spring onion.
  8. Simmer approximately 15-20 minutes.
  9. Remove from pan and stir in parsley.
  10. Place meatballs in tapas dish, pour sauce over meatballs and serve piping hot.