Sunday, October 25, 2009

Albondigas - Spanish Meatballs in Tomato Sauce



From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...
I love Spanish food and don't think it gets nearly the attention it deserves. I became interested in it while searching for recipes scaled to feed two people. My research led me into the world of tapa and a new way of eating. A tapas is not a specific type of food, and it is not, as I once believed, a starter course. Tapas is a style of eating that revolves around small dishes of something edible. Anything can be a tapa as long as the portion is small and it is served with a drink. The word "tapa" means lid or cover. Originally a slice of cheese or ham was served with a drink to cover it and keep away the flies. The more fanciful believe the custom can be traced to a kindly king, who couldn't drink on an empty stomach. It's said he issued a royal decree that demanded all his subjects have food with their drinks. While there was a time in Spain when tapa were free, that is no longer true. At any rate, I started to use tapa recipes for some of our meals and was really pleased at how well they worked. These tasty meatballs, served in a lovely tomato sauce, are from a recipe I've adapted for use at our dinner table. It's a really simple recipe. Chances are you have all the ingredients you need to prepare it in your pantry and refrigerator. The original recipe called for meaty tomatoes. I use that method when heirloom tomatoes are readily available. The rest of the time I rely on a large can of plum tomatoes. A 28-ounce can of plum tomatoes is equivalent to 4 large tomatoes and its a great substitute. Use whole plum tomatoes. For reasons I don't understand, diced tomatoes retain their shape and don't cook down. This recipe is best with a pulpy tomato fondue. You can use any type of ground meat, but I think ground turkey produces dense meatballs that aren't as pleasant as those made from beef and pork. This recipe is scaled to feed 2 people. It can be doubled. Here's the recipe.

Albondigas Con Salsa De Tomate...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Peptita Aris

Ingredients:
1/2 pound ground beef
4 green onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt + salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper + pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 large tomatoes, chopped or 1 (28-oz.) can plum tomatoes, drained
2 tablespoons red or white wine
2 teaspoons fresh chopped rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
Pinch of sugar
Thyme or parsley for garnish

Directions:

1) Place ground beef, green onions, garlic, Parmesan cheese, egg yolk, thyme, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix gently to combine. Shape into 12 equal sized meatballs.
2) Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Saute meatballs, turning several times, until brown, about 5 minutes.
3) Add tomatoes, wine, sugar and rosemary. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook, covered, over low heat for 15 minutes until tomatoes are pulpy and meatballs cooked through. Sprinkle with thyme or parsley. Serve hot. Yellow rice is a lovely accompaniment. Yield: 2 servings.

31 comments:

KathyB. said...

You are right, I do have all the ingredients and this looks delicious, easy, and a great dish for my husband and I . So often we aren't hungry enough for a huge meal with left-overs in the evening.This also looks like a good dish to serve company when they come over after their dinner time, but hopefully stay and visit long enough to share some food with us.

Coleen's Recipes said...

The photo looks DELICIOUS!! I love meatballs and this recipe looks like something we would really enjoy. I watched a food network show on tapas and it really caught my eye.

ButterYum said...

I've often wondered exactly the same thing about diced canned tomatoes and whole canned tomatoes. This recipe is very similar to my meatballs, but I've never added the thyme or scallions... will have to give them a try. Yellow rice is a great accompaniment suggestion.

Susan said...

I have always been fascinated by the many tapas that are available in Spain, and have wanted to do some research myself. These meatballs are an excellent starter for me. Thanks for sharing. And, I really think it is a great way to eat, for a change. Lots of different tapas to try. YUM

Hootin' Anni said...

I love the interesting history of the 'tapa' you shared. I learned something. I myself have two Spanish American sisters-in-law and I've learned to cook the 'original' ways. Much more tasty than the restaurants here.

Great post Mary. As always.

Leann said...

Mmm...they sound wonderful I love tapas! Our son's GF's father is Spanish, so she introduced us to tapas a few years ago.

BTW, love the photos of the kids in your sidebar. The son I was talking about always wore a fire helmet when he was little and is now trying to get a job as a professional fireman!

Lots of Love
Leann

Coralie Cederna Johnson said...

What a fabulous recipe! My mom used to make something similar but yours is truly unique and inviting! Thanks for sharing!

Martha said...

Tapas is just coming to the prairie . . . we've not eaten a lot of Spanish food but I must say that these meatballs look yummy!

Cathy said...

Looks delish, Mary. It can be challenging cooking for two, even worse for one. Exploring the world of tapas is a terrific idea. I like a variety of small bites. This is a keeper.

Lara said...

oh, they look delicious! I like meatballs, however they may be cooked. we eat them just fried in oil, or in a tomato sauce. delicious!

The Chef In My Head said...

Those look fantastic! We have friends in our neighborhood that once lived in Spain. Just last week we were at their home for Tapas and wine tasting, so much fun! These would be super to take next time. Thank you! Pretty Pics ;)

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Spanish food ...I could sing praises...garlic shrimp, paella, there are so many wonderful dishes. This meatball recipe is right up our alley and we will be giving it a try. Thank you.
♥, Susan

Foley said...

The meatballs look delicious and especially like the serving size. Something not to heavy for the evening meal, this hits the mark!
Always love your "history" lessons!

Baking Monster said...

I love tapas at resturants there genrally cheap and really good different foods. The spanish meatballs look delish!

pigpigscorner said...

This looks so good! Spanish food is actually one of my favourite cuisines!

the ungourmet said...

I love all things small including Tapas! These meatballs look delightful. I tend to fill up quickly when I eat so this is the perfect dish for me!

Lori said...

I love the idea of tapas. I think its a fantastic way to eat.

A Year on the Grill said...

Mary... I have been gone from blogging for a WEEK, AND HAVE BEEN SPENDING THE DAY CATCHING UP. I LOVE your blog more and more. I really appreciate the time you spend researching the stories and sharing that goes into your posts. Yours is one of the blogs I want to visit every day.

I will be sharing (stealing) your king and tapas story next time I can fit it in. It is a great story (and who cares about the truth really).

Thanks for all your efforts. Great poist

Helene said...

I would serve these over pastas. I'm sure my son would enjoy them. Great picture.

My Little Space said...

Yeah, I think beef is the best for this kind of meatball. Eventhough I don't take beef, I do noticed people love eating beef meatball over here too!

Esi said...

I have this saved to try next week. Sounds amazing!!

Alyssa said...

These look delicious. You're so right about the turkey (chicken, too) making dense meatballs. For less dense burgers using poultry, I've started to add an egg to the mixture and be careful to shape lightly. Wonder if that would work with the meatballs?

puna said...

I have been looking for ways to make a more fun meatball. They can be so boring sometimes. Thank you so much Mary!

Jamie said...

Yum! Those meatballs look scrumptious and I often find myself fixing a meal for two, something we can eat while watching a film on tv and this with a tapas meal would be perfect!

CC said...

Mary,
As always you have shown a new and delicious meal. Thank you so much for the time and effort you spend on each one..and thank you for sharing these delicious recipes with us.

Olga said...

hmm, haven't made meatballs in quite some time. These look great, especially swimming in the tomato sauce.

Debinhawaii said...

I love Spanish food too--such great flavors. Your meatballs look amazing and the sauce sounds delicious!

L'Chicken said...

I never knew that nugget of Tapas history-- cool! I live over a Tapas restaurant and whenever I tell people that, they think I'm saying "topless." Ha!

Memória said...

I saw these albóndigas (accent on the "o") on Dishing on Delights. These look great!

Becky S. said...

I made this tonight and we really enjoyed it. I'm sorry now that I did not double the recipe to ensure leftovers. We had it with white rice and zucchini. Thank you for sharing.

Amelie said...

Very interesting and lovely. Thank you

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