Simpático Spanish Meatballs

Spanish Meatballs

In the winter months it’s hard to do much with all the snow we’ve been getting.  Although the snow can make things nice and cozy, after it snowed every day for 3 months, it gets a little old (and by a little….I mean a lot).  So, I thought it would be fun to switch things up a bit and have some of my Geneva girlfriends over for a tapas party.  Who can resist some Spanish small plates with Spanish wine?

I decided I wanted to make gluten free and dairy free Spanish meatballs and some pulled chicken enchiladas.  Now, because I don’t want to give my friends food poisoning, I thought it would be best to do a meatball trial to make sure they are edible so these were a beef and pork version.  Although the ones I make for the tapas party will be beef and chorizo, you can really mix any meat you’d like for these…it’s all in the seasoning and sauce!

Considering I’ve only made quinoa lentil meatless meatballs on my own before, I wasn’t sure how they would turn out….and since Drew isn’t one for spicy things I wasn’t sure how he’d like them but we both absolutely loved them.  The key to knowing if he likes something is if he tells me on his own multiple times how good something is, and he told me 3 times (even when we were getting ready for bed).

The trick here is not overcooking – the meatballs will cook in the sauce so I would could the meatballs to an internal temperature of about 125-130 degrees, then cook them for the remaining 20 minutes in the sauce.


Serving Size: 12 Meatballs (more or less depending on what size you make them)

Meatball Ingredients

1/2 pound ground beef

1/2 pound ground chorizo (or pork – I’ve made both ways)

1/4 cup diced onion

4 garlic cloves, minced, divided

4 green onions, ends trimmed, cut into small pieces

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon onion powder

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1 egg

1/4 cup breadcrumbs (I used gluten free, but you can use any kind)

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese (optional – I didn’t include)

Sauce Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 green onions, ends trimmed, cut into small pieces

1 cup red wine

1 cup beef broth

1, 15-ounce can tomato sauce

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1-1/2 tablespoons cherry preserves

2 tablespoons cornstarch or flour (I used gluten free, but you can use regular)

1 bay leaf


Meatball Instructions:

  1. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper and set it aside.
  2. Add the chorizo and beef to a large bowl. Use a wooden spoon to break up the meat to help mix it together.
  3. Add the garlic, onions, and parsley to the mixture along with the cumin, paprika, salt, and black pepper. Use the spoon to mix all the ingredients together as best as possible. If you prefer, use your hands to mix the ingredients together.
  4. Add the egg and Parmesan cheese to the mixture and stir to combine.
  5. Add the breadcrumbs and stir to incorporate. This will help to absorb some of the liquid in the mixture.
  6. Pinch off 2-inch pieces from the mixture and roll each into individual meatballs.
  7. Place the meatballs on the lined baking sheet, then refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  8. Add the olive oil to a Dutch oven over medium heat. When hot, add the meatballs (you may need to work in batches) to brown them, stirring to get all sides, for about 4 minutes.
  9. Use a slotted spoon to remove the meatballs from the Dutch oven, then wipe it clean.

Sauce Instructions:

  1. Add oil to the pan over medium heat. When hot, add the garlic and onion. Cook for a minute or so.
  2. Add the wine, beef broth, and tomato sauce. Stir and cook for a minute or so, then add the salt, cumin, paprika, and ground black pepper to the mixture. Sir and cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add about 1/4 cup of the liquid to a small bowl. Whisk the flour into the bowl until it is smooth.
  4. Transfer the flour mixture to the sauce, whisking to incorporate it. Add the red pepper flakes, cherry preserves, and bay leaf.
  5. Lower the heat to simmer.
  6. Add the meatballs and cook for about 20-30 minutes.
  7. Remove and discard the bay leaf and serve!

Serving Suggestion:

I served over rice with a side spinach salad and a nice Spanish red wine.  Drew actually served in tacos (strange, but surprisingly good).  I also made these a second time with the chorizo and served as a tapa at my tapas party.  These are very versatile so you can do what you want with them!

ImageThe Chef in the Works


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