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Recipe for Albondigas: Spanish Meatballs

It's very rare that I make someone else's recipe. I typically just make up my own concoctions, and so far this approach has served me well. However, when my friend Alejandra twitted about making Albondigas I was intrigued. I quickly twitted her back and asked what she was talking about. Turns out, Albondigas are Spanish meatballs. I waited patiently for Alejandra to post her recipe. Once she did, I headed to the grocery store to buy the necessary ingredients.

Unfortunately, I did not make these meatballs till 8 pm on a Sunday night, so you don't get all the prep photos (they turned out rather ugly). But let me tell you: these meatballs, and especially the sauce, are some of the best food I've made in a while! I've been eating them for days without getting tired of the flavor!

And without any more delays, here's a recipe for Albondigas: Spanish Meatballs. {FYI: I changed a few things from original recipe.}


1 pound ground pork
1.5 pounds ground turkey
2 eggs
1 cup panko crumbs
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small red onion, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 canned chipotle, seeds removed, finely chopped

Chipotle Tomato Sauce

2 (28-ounce) cans tomato puree
2 tablespoons adobo sauce (buy canned chipotles in adobo sauce and use the sauce ;) If you like spicy food, add more!)
1 canned chipotle, minced
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips
Salt and black pepper


1. Add all the sauce ingredients to a large pot and let them simmer for as long as it takes to make meatballs. Please cover the pot, or you'll get burned by the sauce burping (I'm speaking from experience!).

2. Preheat the oven to 400.
3. Combine all the ingredients for meatballs in a bowl. Don't overmix.

4. Using an ice cream scoop, form your meatballs and place them side by side on a cookie sheet (or use 9x13 Pyrex dish as I did). Bake the meatballs for about 15 minutes. (The ones pictured below are unbaked)

5. Take the meatballs out of the oven and add them to the simmering sauce. Let them hang out in the flavorful tomato bath for about 10 minutes. Cut one meatball open to make sure it's cooked all the way through.

This recipe makes about 27 meatballs.

My thoughts: I'll be completely honest with you: I was a bit  apprehensive about making this recipe. First, who can eat so much meat? Of course I could have cut the recipe by half or just freeze some of the leftovers--> this was not a problem at all! I've been eating these meatballs for a week without getting tired of them.

Second, I'm not a huge fan of cinnamon and allspice. But I decided to be adventurous and not leave them out. The Cinnamon in the sauce combined with the chocolate chips gave so much depth and just a bit of sweetness to the final dish. And you definitely needed some sweetness to balance the heat from the adobo sauce and the chipotle peppers.

Third, I was apprehensive about pre-baking the meatballs instead of browning them in a pan. However, this step saved me from standing by the stove and turning the meatballs for 15 minutes. Thanks, Alejandra!

Serve the meatballs over pasta, rice, orzo or even mashed potatoes. Please make these: you'll be so happy you did.

Have a wonderful 3 day Labor Day weekend!


Delicious Dishings said...

This is such an interesting recipe! So many different ingredients and flavors. I'm always trying new meatball recipes, so hopefully I'll get around to this one too.

Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

Unknown said...

Ah, how I would love a plate of spaghetti and meatballs! This looks beautiful!
*kisses* HH

Keri said...

Hmmmm .. once again, you make it look so easy to get it on the plate looking like a magazine cover. I love the ingredients and may have to try this one. Lovely


DiPaola Momma said...

Always had them in soup as a kid growing up on the Mexican border but seriously, this are simply sublime sounding!

Anna C said...

Hi, I must admit the Spanish meatball recipe has me intrigued. After reading the ingredients,I'm tempted to give the a try. Thanks for sharing.


Carolyn said...

The only albondigas I've ever had have been in algondigas soup (which might be Mexican?). These sound so good!

Kulsum@JourneyKitchen said...

Wow! I'm surely gonna use this meatball recipe when I make meatballs.

I find it intriguing that you use semi sweet choc chips. I normally use unsweetened cocoa powder for the complex color and flavor in stews etc.

Esi said...

Chocolate chips in the sauce?! So weird..and yet interesting.

Pretty. Good. Food. said...

Mmmm, sounds so good. I love all the seasonings. Yum!

Kenny J Almodovar said...

I am definitely trying this recipe. They look so good.