Tapas – Albondigas In Tomato Sauce

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This is the third recipe from my friend’s tapas booklet. Out of the three recipes I copied, this one was the only one that wasn’t on her buffet, and I’d never had it before. It turned out really delicious, but I’ll  make some adjustments next time.

First, the recipe says to sauté the onions and garlic but then doesn’t tell you what to do with them. OK, it was obvious they had to go with the minced beef, but everything else was meticulously described which is why I was puzzled for a moment.

Then the fennel seeds should be chopped, which I did in a mini electric blender, and that seemed to make them quite dominant. Next time I would use half the amount.

The tomato sauce was a little too cinnamony for my taste, so I added 2 tsp sugar, which did the trick. I would half the amount of cinnamon next time and add sugar straight away, maybe cane sugar instead of white.

In the recipe below, I made adjustments to the instructions so everyone who wants to make this gets a great result. Because of the strange instructions about the onions in the booklet, I added them to the minced beef right after sautéing, which meant that they were really hot (I was wearing rubber gloves but that doesn’t prevent heat getting through), and also I think that wasn’t very good for the egg because it might have gotten cooked a little. I found two onions quite a lot and would use one large one instead (I used sweet onions). The recipe asks for whole canned tomatoes but I used chopped ones (polpa).

As were the other two tapas dishes, this is also a great dish for a buffet or a picnic.

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Albondigas In Tomato Sauce

  • Servings: 4 / approx. 40 meatballs
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850 g can chopped tomatoes (polpa)
100 ml dry red wine
(less than a) pinch cinnamon powder
2 tbsp brown sugar
pul biber (red chilli flakes)
50 g pine nuts
1 sweet onion
2 garlic cloves
5 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp fennel seeds, crushed or chopped
50 g sun-dried tomatoes, finely diced
500 g minced beef
4 tbsp breadcrumbs
1 tsp dried chopped rosemary
1 tsp dried chopped thyme
1 egg

Finely chop the onion, then the garlic (separately!). Sauté the onion in 2 tbsp olive oil, then add the garlic and sauté for 2 more minutes. Take off the heat and leave to cool.

Cook the chopped tomatoes with the red wine, cinnamon and brown sugar, simmering it for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, dry-fry the pine nuts.

Mix the chopped fennel seeds and diced sun-dried tomatoes with the minced beef, then add the breadcrumbs, dried herbs and the egg. Season with salt and pepper, then add the cooled onions and garlic.

Roll about 40 meatballs from the minced mix, then fry in the remaining olive oil in a non-stick pan until they’re browned on the outside.

Season the tomato sauce with salt, pepper and pul biber, then pour onto the meatballs. Leave to simmer at the lowest setting, without lid, for 15 minutes.

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