If you've never heard of them before, Albondigas are Mexican meatballs. They make a nice, spicy change from Italian meatballs and were relatively easy to put together which is always a plus point.
This is a Gino D'Acampo recipe that I had bookmarked some time ago (I appear to be quite a fan of his these days!) and hadn't braved it until recently because of the tomatoey-ness (yes, that is an official term) but it was fine, lovely in fact. The biggest challenge I had was dealing with the chipotle - once I had started re-hydrating it the aroma was overpowering and attempting to fine chopping a soggy hot chilli was interesting. This did concern me as I was a little worried that they might blow our heads off but it was all fine once they'd blended in with the rest of the sauce.
Mr M and I enjoyed these, I really liked the combination of pork and mince as normally I just use one or the other and we'll definitely have them again. The following recipe is to serve 4.
For the meatballs;
1 onion, finely chopped
225g minced pork
225g lean minced beef
50g fresh breadcrumbs, toasted
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 egg, beaten
oil for frying
For the sauce;
1 chipotle chilli, seeds removed
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
175ml beef stock
400g canned chopped tomatoes
7 tbsp passata
Start by preparing the chipotle chilli. Soak the chipotle in a little warm water for around 15 minutes whilst you prepare the meatballs.
Combine the onion, pork and beef in a large mixing bowl, before adding the breadcrumbs, oregano, cumin and a little salt and pepper. Mix everything well. Add the beaten egg and mix this through thoroughly. Roll the mixture into small balls about 4cm each in diameter.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the meatballs for around 5 minutes, turning occasionally. Make sure they are browned and cooked through. Put the cooked meatballs to one side.
Finely chop or puree the chilli in its soaking water. For less heat you can puree the chipotle with the soaking water and just use half the puree. Combine the oil, chipotle, onion, garlic, stock, tomatoes and passata along with a little salt and pepper in a large pan or casserole dish. Bring the mixture to the boil and then simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the cooked meatballs to the sauce and simmer for around 10 minutes to heat through.
Serve with some freshly cooked white rice.
We can't resist a Mexican-inspired meal in our house, so this went down very well!