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  • Writer's picturechefalisonbiebs

Tomato Braised Meatballs

Albondigas (Spanish tapas meatballs) are traditionally served at tapas bars in Spain. They are easy to make and will be a hit as an appetizer, at your next tapas party, or as a main dish at dinner.

I used a combination of beef short rib and pork shoulder for this recipe and ground using the meat grinder attachment for a stand mixer. Both cuts are meaty and high in fat making the grind perfect for braising resulting in tender, juicy, and flavourful meatballs.

Chef notes:

I ground the meats for this recipe but store-bought will work just as well.

Specialty equipment:

Meat grinder

Stand mixer

Yield: serves 4–6 people

Preparation time: 1½–2 hours

Cook time: 1½–2 hours


1 lb ground beef short rib

1 lb ground pork shoulder

2 eggs

¼ cup GF breadcrumbs (regular work if you are not GF)

¼ cup cava

3 tsp salt

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp paprika

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp fresh ground black pepper

Tomato Sauce

¼ cup olive oil

1 yellow onion (1 cup), chopped fine

1 green bell pepper (¾ cup), chopped fine

4 cloves of garlic, chopped

½ cup cava

28 oz can whole tomatoes, crushed

1 cup water

½ cup green olives

½ tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

For the meatballs

  • Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

  • Weigh out 1 oz portions of meat, roll them into balls, and place them on a tray.

  • Refrigerate the meatballs while you prepare the tomato sauce.

For the tomato sauce

  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan on medium heat.

  • Add the onions and green peppers and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring often.

  • Add in the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.

  • Deglaze the pan with the cava and cook until the cava has almost completely evaporated.

  • Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan, stir, and turn the heat to low.

Finishing the plate

  • Heat a large frying pan on high heat.

  • Add a tbsp of oil to the pan and sear the meatballs on all sides. Do this in batches, once the meatballs are browned.

  • Add the meatballs back into the pan, turn the heat to low, and pour the tomato sauce over them. Be careful the pan may be hot from searing the meatballs.

  • Stir and cover the pan with a lid and slowly simmer the meatballs for about 1 hour. Stir the meatballs occasionally.

  • Turn the heat off and serve as an appetizer or over rice or potatoes for dinner.


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