Excellent as a main course when served with bread for sopping up the tomato sauce, albóndigas (meatballs) are also great served as an appetizer or part of a spread of Spanish tapas. If serving them as an appetizer, provide toothpicks or cocktail picks and plenty of napkins alongside. Use a light hand when forming the meatballs, just as you would when shaping a hamburger patty, to ensure light, tender results.
- 1 lb. (500 g) ground beef
- 1 lb. (500 g) ground pork
- 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) dried bread crumbs
- 3 eggs
- 1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
- 1 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano, plus more for garnish
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. anchovy paste
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) sherry vinegar
- 1 can (28 oz./875 g) crushed tomatoes
Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C).
In a large bowl combine the beef, pork, bread crumbs, eggs, parsley, oregano, half of the garlic and 1 tsp. of the paprika. Season with salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix gently but thoroughly. Form the mixture into meatballs about 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) in diameter.
In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Working in batches to avoid crowding, sear the meatballs, turning occasionally, until lightly browned on all sides, about 3 minutes per batch. Gently transfer the meatballs to a platter and set aside.
Add the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil to the pan. When the oil is hot, add the onion and sauté until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds more. Stir in the remaining 1 Tbs. paprika, the anchovy paste and sugar. Add the vinegar and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil.
Return the meatballs to the pan with the tomato sauce. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook, uncovered, until the meatballs are firm and cooked through, 45 to 50 minutes. Garnish with parsley and oregano and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.
Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen