Albondigas I Spanish Meatballs I Happy Midweek Meal

Ingredients

Adjust Servings:
Meatballs
2 slices bread crust removed
100 ml Milk
250 g minced beef
250 g minced pork
2 pcs Garlic cloves
1 pcs Egg
a few stems fresh parsley chopped
a pinch ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon Salt
a pinch Black pepper
Sauce
2 pcs onion peeled and finely chopped
2 pcs Garlic cloves
100 ml Tomato puree
200 ml red wine
3 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon Salt
a pinch Black pepper

Albondigas I Spanish Meatballs I Happy Midweek Meal

Cuisine:

Albondigas is a Spanish word for meatballs. Even though the flavours are rich and complex, this recipe is easy to make.

  • 45
  • Serves 4
  • Medium

Ingredients

  • Meatballs

  • Sauce

Directions

What is Albondigas?

Albondigas are small meatballs that are prepared in Mexican, Spanish, and South American ways. When you prepare a meatball soup, it fills up your senses and makes you feel fuzzy from the inside. But this is not a regular meatball soup – many special ingredients go into the warm bowl.

Albondigas is a Spanish word for meatballs. The dish actually refers to a soup with meatballs. Once you dive into the soup with a large spoon, you don’t get up from the seat till you finish the meatballs and every ounce of the broth.

Mexicans refer to this dish as ‘soul food.’ Even though the flavours are rich and complex, the Spanish Albondigas recipe is easy to make.

Albondigas vs. Polpettes

Meatball dishes have different names in different countries. Spaniards call the dish Albondigas and Italians call them ‘Polpettes.’ There are key differences between the two dishes.

The Polpettes are Italian meatballs in a red tomato sauce whereas Albondigas are meatballs cooked in a soup. Italians add different types of vegetables and cheese to make the meatballs, but the Spanish/Mexican albondigas are different. They are good old meatballs in a flavorful soup.

Italians may use stale bread, leftover chicken, risotto and boiled meat to make their meatballs. Mexicans usually prefer fresh ingredients to make the meatballs. They use ground pork, ground beef, cooked rice, garlic, mint, black pepper, and eggs to make the meatballs. There is a similarity between the two which is that rice may be used in both. The recipe can differ from one home to another. But both the dishes have distinct flavors.

Besides polpettes, there are other dishes that look similar but are quite different from albondigas.

Middle Eastern locals make a dish called Shorbet Ayaneen. They add onion, mixed spice, minced meat, pepper, and parsley to make the meatballs. They add the meatballs in a spicy and tangy soup made of Egyptian rice, lemon, cloves, mixed spices, parsley, pepper and water.

There are various dishes that resemble Albondigas but the flavors are different and each of them have their own uniqueness.

What do you serve with Albondigas?

Everyone has a distinct taste so their preferences would differ too. Ideally, you should serve up Albondigas with avocado, sour cream, cilantro, and lime juice. But it all depends on what your preferences are.

Lime juice will add a little bit of zing to the soup. Sour cream adds creaminess to the lovely soup with refreshing and delicious tanginess. Cilantro adds freshness to the dish. This reminds us that you should not use store-brought meatballs for albondingas because the whole dish is about creating the perfect meatballs.

You can also serve it with some hot sauce as some guests might have a particular taste. They might like to add some spiciness to the soup.

The dish is wholesome and keeps you satiated for many hours. Also, it is not a complex dish to prepare. You need to gather some basic ingredients and good-quality ground beef to get started.

Origin

Albondingas is mostly referred to as a Mexican food option, but the origin is Spain. It came into existence in sixth century where there was an Islamic influence. In fact, the word also holds significance in Middle East.

In Arabic language, Al-bunduq means hazelnut. The small meatballs are of the size of a hazelnut. In Spanish, Albondiga means ‘meatballs.’ So clearly there is a Spanish and Islamic connect here.

There was a time when people did not like to waste food. Even till today, many Spaniards don’t waste food and make creative recipes out of leftovers.

Creative recipes came into existence so that nothing goes waste. So, meatballs are not only great in taste but they also help us use what little ingredients we have left in the refrigerator.

In fact, in old days, the poorer class could also get their protein intake due to this ‘no waste, make creative recipes’ initiative.

The key ingredients of this dish are a personal choice, but the meatballs are made with a combination of beef, ham, pork, or whatever the chef likes. Making the Albondigas recipe is a cakewalk – even for bachelors. If you have some ground beef in the refrigerator, some cilantro, potatoes, carrots, and other seasonings, you can make this dish without a sweat.

The wholesome Albondigas can be devoured with some vino tinto or blanco. You can also enjoy a glass of sangria with it.

Steps

1
Done

In a bowl, mix the bread that you tore into small pieces and the milk. Add meat, garlic, parsley, nutmeg and egg. Season with salt and pepper, mix well so you get a compact mass.

2
Done

Now make 1.5 inch (4cm) sized meatballs from this mixture. This amount is enough for about 25 meatballs. Put them aside.

3
Done

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion on it until it becomes translucent. Now add the paprika and fry for approx. 1 minute. Add chopped tomato, wine, garlic, and bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes on low heat.

4
Done

While the sauce is cooking, in a wide frying pan, over medium heat, heat the oil and place the meatballs to bake slowly. Just a few minutes on each side until they turn brown.

5
Done

Now transfer them to the pan with the sauce and let them simmer for about 10 minutes so that the sauce and meatballs are well combined, and the meatballs are well cooked.

6
Done

That's it. Albondigas is done. Serve it sprinkled with parsley and grated hard cheese ideally Spanish Manchego.

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