Like many Californian students I studied Spanish in high school. Certain nonsensical phrases stick in my head like “The brunette is a friend of my sister’s”, “My record play is broken,” and “Meatballs didn’t I tell you”. My Spanish has improved a bit over time but I can still make Hispanics roll with laughter when I string all those phrases together. I’m sure I sound like una gringa loca. This piece of useless information is just a prelude to my next tapas (appetizers) post.
Albondigas tapas are little bite-sized meatballs. I serve them in a tomato sauce and accompany them with a hot crusty loaf of bread. Albondigas aren’t difficult to make however there are a few steps. You can make and freeze the meatballs cooked or uncooked for later. They are terrific the first day but even better the second.
Albondigas (meatballs) in tomato sauce
1 lb ground beef
4 garlic cloves, crushed
½ teaspoon cumin
2 sprigs parsley, finely chopped
1 cup of flour
1 onion, chopped finely
2 bay leaves
1 tsp of salt
Virgin olive oil
In a large bowl, beat the eggs and then add the meat, mixing well. Add the crushed garlic, the salt, cumin, and the parsley, mixing with a fork until the mixture is well coated with the egg.
Use a spoon to take out enough mixture to make a quarter sized meatball and lightly press it with your hands. Leave the edges rough to capture juices and sauce. Continue making meatballs until finished. Coat each meatball by rolling in flour.
Use a small, deep saucepan and fill with olive oil to about half the depth of the meatballs. Heat the oil and when it is hot, add as many meatballs as you can without letting them touch each other or the sides. Brown lightly for 1-2 minutes on each side. Place in a casserole dish or in individual casserole dishes. It is best if they do not touch the sides of the dish.
8 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 lbs ripe tomatoes chopped
1 teaspoon of sugar
freshly ground black pepper
Optional: ½ cup wine
To make the sauce heat the oil in a frying pan and add the onion. Fry until it starts to become golden. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook them for about 10 minutes . Add wine if you desire. Add the salt, pepper and sugar and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the mix from the heat and use food processor or blender to gently blend sauce. Leave some chunks.
Pour the sauce over the meatballs, place the casserole dish in 350 degree oven. Cook for 12 minutes. Serve immediately.