Albondigas (Spanish Meatballs)

Serves 6-8 as a tapa

Albondigas Spanish Meatballs recipe 1 – The Artisan Food Trail

Albondigas, or Spanish meatballs, are a beloved staple in tapas bars across Spain. These flavourful morsels are bathed in a rich and slightly spicy tomato sauce, showcasing the simplicity and deliciousness of traditional Spanish cuisine. Combining pork and either beef or veal, these meatballs are perfect for any tapas night.


For the tomato sauce

    • 1 onion, finely chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 1 large red pepper, finely chopped
    • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
    • 1 tsp sweet paprika (dulce)
    • ½ tsp hot paprika (picante)
    • splash of sherry vinegar
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • salt and pepper
    • fresh chopped parsley to garnish (optional)

    For the meatballs

    • 200g minced pork
    • 200g minced beef or veal
    • 1 small onion finely chopped
    • 1 tsp ground cumin
    • 1 tsp chopped thyme leaves
    • 1 tbsp of breadcrumbs
    • 1 small egg, lightly beaten
    • salt and pepper
    • 2 tbsp olive oil


      Prepare the tomato sauce:
      In a pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the chopped onion until it becomes soft, about 5 minutes.

      Add the crushed garlic, sweet and hot paprika, and the chopped red pepper. Cook for an additional few minutes.

      Stir in the chopped tomatoes and a splash of sherry vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
      Lower the heat and let the sauce simmer gently for 15 minutes until it thickens. Set aside.

      Make the meatballs:
      Sauté the finely chopped onion in olive oil for about 5 minutes until softened, then remove from heat and let cool.

      In a large mixing bowl, combine the minced pork, minced beef or veal, ground cumin, chopped thyme leaves, breadcrumbs, a generous pinch of salt and pepper, and the cooled sautéed onion.
      Add the lightly beaten egg and mix everything together thoroughly until well combined.

      With damp hands (to prevent sticking), form the mixture into small bite-sized balls. Arrange them on a plate and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes to firm up.

      Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook the meatballs in batches, ensuring they are browned evenly on all sides, which should take about 10 minutes per batch.

      Reheat the tomato sauce if necessary and pour it over the cooked meatballs. If desired, garnish with freshly chopped parsley.
      Serve immediately with crusty bread to soak up the delicious sauce.

      Albondigas Spanish Meatballs recipe 2 – The Artisan Food Trail

      Notes on ingredients

      You could use some smoked paprika in place of the sweet paprika for  more depth of flavour. Try the one from The Artisan Smokehouse which uses the subtle flavour of maple wood smoke.

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