Tomato Braised Meatballs
Albondigas (Spanish tapas meatballs) are traditionally served at tapas bars in Spain. They are easy to make and will be a hit as an appetizer, at your next tapas party, or as a main dish at dinner.
I used a combination of beef short rib and pork shoulder for this recipe, ground using the meat grinder attachment for a stand mixer. I prefer to grind the meats for meatballs, this allows me to control the fat-to-meat ratio. Both cuts are meaty and high in fat making the grind perfect for braising resulting in tender, juicy, and flavourful meatballs.
I ground the meats for this recipe but store-bought will work just as well.
Yield: serves 4–6 people
Preparation time: 1½–2 hours
Cook time: 1½–2 hours
1 lb ground beef short rib
1 lb ground pork shoulder
¼ cup GF breadcrumbs (regular work if you are not GF)
¼ cup cava
3 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
¼ cup olive oil
1 yellow onion (1 cup), chopped fine
1 green bell pepper (¾ cup), chopped fine
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
½ cup cava
28 oz can whole tomatoes, crushed
1 cup water
½ cup green olives
½ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
For the meatballs
Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Weigh out 1 oz portions of meat, roll them into balls, and place them on a tray.
Refrigerate the meatballs while you prepare the tomato sauce.
For the tomato sauce
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan on medium heat.
Add the onions and green peppers and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring often.
Add in the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.
Deglaze the pan with the cava and cook until the cava has almost completely evaporated.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan, stir, and turn the heat to low.
Finishing the plate
Heat a large frying pan on high heat.
Add a tbsp of oil to the pan and sear the meatballs on all sides. Do this in batches, once the meatballs are browned.
Add the meatballs back into the pan, turn the heat to low, and pour the tomato sauce over them. Be careful the pan may be hot from searing the meatballs.
Stir and cover the pan with a lid and slowly simmer the meatballs for about 1 hour. Stir the meatballs occasionally.
Turn the heat off and serve as an appetizer or over rice or potatoes for dinner.