Spanish Meatballs Recipe in Almond Sauce (Albóndigas En Salsa De Almendras) by Ann Marie Patitucci
I grew up in an Italian family with weekly Italian Sunday dinners: some sort of pasta (or “macaroni”), bread, sausage and meatballs. Sometimes we’d have a simple spaghetti and other times we’d have lasagna or baked ziti, but we always had meatballs – they were always my mom’s homemade beef meatballs in her tomato sauce. I didn’t even know that other varieties of meatballs even existed!
Now that I’m older and a bit more worldy than I was as a child, I am well aware that foods exist outside of those my mom made in our kitchen. Meatballs, for instance, are made and enjoyed across the globe. But what defines a meatball? This seems to be hard to say. In the West, we typically think of meatballs as ground (or minced) meat mixed with bread or dairy. In contrast, in East Asia, meat is chopped into a paste for meatballs. I’ve learned that the type of meat doesn’t really matter; in order to qualify as a meatball, it has to end up, at least relatively, round in shape.
Internationally, making meatballs has been a process of stretching minimal portions of meat into something more nourishing, tasty and visually impressive. I think you’ll find that to be true with this meatball in almond sauce recipe from Spain. Serve this easy recipe as tapas or as an entrée with rice or potatoes.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 pound ground beef
- 3 eggs
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- fresh minced parsley
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- all-purpose flour
- olive oil or sunflower oil, for frying
- 1/4 cup olive oil or sunflower oil
- 3 whole garlic cloves
- 4 slices white bread, crusts removed and cut into quarters
- 2/3 cup white wine
- pinch of saffron threads (add this to the white wine)
- 2/3 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 cup raw almonds
Here’s how to make it:
- In a large bowl, combine the meat, eggs, garlic, a handful of minced parsley, milk and breadcrumbs (add more breadcrumbs, if needed, in order to form the meatballs). Season with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the mixture for 3 hours to overnight.
- Roll the meat mixture into medium-sized balls. Dredge in flour. Heat some oil in a frying pan. Cook the meatballs until browned on all sides (they should still be pink inside). Drain on paper towels.
- To make the almond sauce, add the 1/4 cup olive oil to the pan. Cook the whole garlic cloves over medium heat until golden. Remove them to a food processor.
- In the same oil, fry the raw almonds until just golden. Take them out as soon as they've turned color. Add them to the food processor.
- In the same oil, turn up the heat and fry the slices of white bread, making croutons. Remove from pan and add to the food processor.
- Add the chicken stock and saffron-infused white wine to the food processor. Blend until smooth (but not a complete purée), about 1 minute or so.
- Pour the sauce completely over the meatballs. Cook for about 20 minutes over a very low heat (if you cook at a higher heat, the meatballs could fall apart). If the sauce is too thick, add a bit of water. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed.
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