Saturday, December 17, 2011

Spanish Meatballs (Albondigas)

The word "albondiga" comes from the Arabic word al-bunduqa meaning hazelnut, and it got its name from its round shape, simulating a hazelnut. It is not strange that we find so many words that are of Arabic origin in Spanish since Southern Spain, Al-Andalus, was almost 800 years under Arabic rule, and that translates into ¼ of Spanish vocabulary of Arabic origin.  The Spanish meatball must have as many recipes as cooks. As a matter of fact, I think every time I make them I change something because I don’t have an ingredient or because I want to add another.


1 Pound Ground Beef
½ Pound Ground Pork
7 Smoked Bacon Strips (crispy, crushed in bits)
1 Slice of Rustic Bread soaked in Milk
½ Cup Parsley Finely Chopped
3 Tablespoons Garlic Cloves Finely Chopped
1 Egg

(Usually I make them 1/3 beef, 1/3 veal and 1/3 pork but I have to say these were very tasty.)

In a large bowl mix the ground beef and pork. Add the bread, bacon, parsley, and garlic, and keep mixing the ingredients very well. Finally, add the egg and mix it with the rest.

Start spooning the mix and work to form meatballs the size of a ping-pong ball until you are done. I made about 18 balls out off this mix.  The next step is to dust them with flour, and then fry them in olive oil to sear them. When all the balls are seared set them aside while making the stew.

For the stew:

1 Onion Finely Chopped
1 Garlic Clove Finely Chopped
1 Tomato Chopped or 1 Can
3 Medium Potatoes
2 Boxes of Oyster Mushrooms
1 cup Peas
Chicken or Beef Stock

First, make the "sofrito." In a pan at a low heat, cook the onion and garlic  until translucent. Then add the tomatoes until it is almost a paste, add the mushrooms and potatoes, and cover with the chicken stock. When the potatoes are half done add the peas. Keep cooking and when the potatoes are almost done add the meatballs and cook for another 5 minutes.

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