Albóndigas (meatballs)

It is allergy season where I live. It hits me hard every spring. It is very hard to stay in as I like to be outside gardening, walking, or seeing friends. If you suffer from allergies, you know what I’m talking about!

What helps me is making something with a bit of kick and with tomatoes. I decided to replicate a wonderful Spanish meatball dish from a local restaurant called Del Alma. The meatballs are called Albóndigas and are made with beef, pork, and stewed tomatoes and topped with grated manchego cheese. They are served with grilled bread. I thought these might cure my allergies for at least a day.

I always like to research where a dish comes from. Albóndigas are often associated with Mexico but originally came from Spain. 

You might already know that a meatball is ground meat rolled into a small ball, often with other ingredients like bread crumbs, minced onion, eggs, butter, and seasonings. They are normally cooked by frying, baking, steaming, or braising in a sauce.

My twist on this dish is to include Pimiento stuffed olives.

How to make this dish

Sauce

  • 2 can 10 oz rotel tomatoes and green chili
  • 2/3 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno, cut in to rounds
  • 1 tbs fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp garlic power
  • 1 tsp salt

Remove seeds from Jalapeno if you like the dish to be less spicy. Place all ingredients in a blender and puree. Transfer the mixture to a large deep frying/saucepan. Set aside while you make the meatballs.

Meatballs

  • 1 lbs ground pork
  • 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 hamburger bun or slice white bread torn into pieces
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 tbs fresh oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tbs ground black pepper
  • 24 pieces of pimento stuffed olives

Soak the bread pieces in milk. Once soft, combine all other ingredients except the olives in a bowl. Mix well. Shape the meat mixture into 24 meatballs. Press 1 olive gently into the center of each meatball, sealing meat tightly around the olives. Repeat with remaining meatball mixture and olives.

Assembly

  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Bring the tomato sauce to a gentle boil over medium heat. Lay all meatballs into sauce in a single layer. Cover and simmer on low medium heat for about 30 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through. Gently stir occasionally.

Remove the meatball from the sauce. Skim excess fat if preferred. Boil sauce for about 10 minutes to reduce to 1 1/2 cups. Put back meatballs into the sauce. Sprinkle 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese over the meatballs. Cover and cook till cheese are melted. Serve with a bread of your choice.

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