Who doesn’t like meatballs? There’s really just one, two-word rule to follow when it comes to great meatballs: flavor explosion. They need to deliver far more flavor than their tiny size suggests.
These Spanish Meatballs are a riff on my Albondigas soup, baked instead of boiled and served in sauce instead of soup.
I love that I end up with 60 meatballs and plenty of sauce with this recipe. That may sound like a lot, considering that only two people live in our house. But these are so versatile: serve them over rice, beans or pasta; add water and more seasoning to make soup; melt some Manchego over them and serve with toasted bread slices. Point being, you can make them once and eat on them for days.
Spanish Meatballs (Albondigas) with Pintos, Zucchini and Tomato
For the Meatballs
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 pound uncooked ground chorizo sausage
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 cup cooked rice I used brown basmati
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 28- ounce can crushed tomatoes with juice
- 4 small zucchini diced
- 2 cups cooked pinto beans or 1 14 1/2-ounce can pinto beans, drained
- ½ teaspoon to 1 fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- To make the meatballs, add all ingredients (eggs through pepper) to a medium bowl and mix with your hands until combined. (Don't overmix or your meatballs will be tough!)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.
- With a 1 tablespoon scoop or standard tablespoon, scoop out meatball mixture on to a baking sheet - into ragged little mounds that are close to the same size. Now pick up one mound and gently roll it into a ball between your palms. Repeat with remaining mounds, arranging the meatballs very close together, but not touching.
- Bake 15-20 minutes until cooked through.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat until hot. Add onion and a pinch of salt; cook and stir until onion is translucent. Add cumin, oregano and tomatoes; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Add zucchini and pinto beans; cook 5 to 10 minutes more, to desired doneness. Remove from heat.
- When meatballs are cooked through, remove from oven and, with a slotted spoon transfer cooked meatballs to sauce. Gently stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and, if necessary, reheat over medium-low heat.
- Serve alone or over rice, beans or pasta.