Thursday, December 8, 2016

Spanish Albondigas Meatballs in Tomato Garlic Sauce

Tapas Party! After a great trip to Spain recently with friends, we were excited to get together and swap photos, talk stories and re-live some of the yummiest food we've had in a long time. Might have wanted to sip wine too.  You know. Four couples, each couple bringing 2-3 dishes for us to recreate the feeling a lots of small, succulent tastes. 

This photo only shows a small portion of what we enjoyed that night.
In fact, the very top photo is what I made with the leftovers I had to bring home! 
Way too much food... isn't that always the way at the best parties?

Here's a shot of my plate...

It's rare that I change so little in a recipe.  This is one of those.  I did three things different from the original- I used a red bell pepper, reduced the salt and added fresh ground pepper.

Makes enough for 8-10 as a tapas (small dish)

1 large onion, chopped fine
1 large bell pepper, chopped fine
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds ground beef (not lean)
1/2 pound ground pork (not lean)
2/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs
2 teaspoons salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (33 1/2-ounce) can whole tomatoes, including juice
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled

I use my food processor to cut up the peppers and onions in a small mince

In a 9-inch heavy well-seasoned skillet (preferably cast-iron) cook onion and bell pepper in 2 tablespoons oil over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened. Cool mixture. In a large bowl combine well onion mixture, ground meat, bread crumbs, salt, nutmeg, and parsley. Form level tablespoons of mixture into balls (about 90 1" meatballs or 45 2" balls). In skillet heat 1 tablespoon oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and brown meatballs in batches (about 16 at a time), shaking skillet frequently so that meatballs maintain their shape and adding remaining 3 tablespoons oil as necessary. Transfer meatballs with a slotted spoon as browned to a bowl. I added the drippings to the sauce too, they looked too delicious to waste.

Here's the sauce simmering as I brown up the meat balls

I used a big cookie scoop to make the meatballs, rolling them smooth before browning

Toss the browned meatballs into the simmering sauce.  Don't over stir at this point, while  your meatballs are browned on the outside, they are still soft inside

Sauce: In a heavy kettle (at least 6 quarts) cook garlic in oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add tomatoes with juice and oregano and simmer, breaking up tomatoes. Add meatballs and simmer, covered, gently stirring occasionally, 25 minutes, or until meatballs are tender and sauce is thickened slightly.

Transfer meatballs with slotted spoon to heated serving dish. If sauce seems thin, boil gently, stirring frequently, until thickened to desired consistency. Season sauce with salt and pepper and spoon over meatballs. Meatballs and sauce may be made 2 days ahead. Let it cool uncovered and chill covered. reheat meatballs before serving.

Recipe courtesy of Gourmet Magazine, on LOVED this one!

Yummy to eat as an appetizer (tapas) or as main dish served tossed with some pasta.

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