I’m so embarrassed! I was in the midst of photographing these Mexican Meatballs when my camera shutter button jammed. I was stuck- no more pictures! I was worried that my meatballs would go stale on me, so I drove 17 miles to a camera repair shop, only to be told that my camera worked fine. I just needed to recharge the camera batteries! That was one of those embarrassing moments that I’d like to forget.
Now back to the Mexican Meatballs. ‘Albóndigas’ means ‘meatballs’ in Spanish and are a popular Spanish tapas dish. The thing that makes them Mexican Meatballs is the addition of a chipotle chile in the sauce. Chipotles are smoked jalapeno peppers and they give a nice smoky taste to the dish. I’ve used chipotles in several other of my dishes: Smoky Chipotle Chicken with Chorizo and Smoky Chipotle Eggs Baked in a Skillet. You can find chipotles in various supermarkets (particularly in Southern California) or in Mexican specialty markets.
To make the meatballs, you combine minced beef and pork together with diced onion, breadcrumbs, egg, cumin and oregano. After browning the meatballs, the mouth watering sauce or ‘soup’ is made with diced tomatoes, a chipotle pepper, beef stock and seasonings. It’s enough to make you want to grab that nearby piece of bread and sop up the juices.
Words to describe this dish would be ‘spicy, delicious, appetizing, inviting, tasty, delectable and toothsome’… oh hell, I’m running out of words here. But be sure and have your camera batteries charged before photographing this dish!
- 1/2 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1/2 lb ground pork
- 3 tbsp. Mexican beef or pork chorizo (optional)
- 1/4 cup ground breadcrumbs
- 1 raw egg
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, chopped
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp salt
- juice from 1 lime
- 1 - 2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, minced
- cooked white rice
- Sauté the chopped onions and garlic in olive or vegetable oil for several minutes until soft.
- In a separate bowl, combine the raw beef, pork and Mexican chorizo, breadcrumbs, raw egg, cooked onions and garlic, cumin, oregano and salt.
- Form the mixture into meatballs about 1 - 1.5 inches wide and brown for several minutes over medium heat for several minutes. Set aside.
- In a large skillet or casserole dish, sauté the chopped onions and garlic in olive or vegetable oil until soft. Add the chopped chipotle chile, cumin, beef stock, diced tomatoes, salt and lime juice to the pan. Stir over medium heat for several minutes.
- Add the browned meatballs to the pan, cover and let simmer for at least 10 minutes until the meat is thoroughly cooked. Serve over rice and garnish with chopped coriander.
- Adjust the amount of cumin and chipotle chile according to your personal taste. The addition of the 3 tbsp. of Mexican chorizo to the meatballs is optional- I added the chorizo to give the meat more flavour.