Albondigas en salsa de chile ancho

Albondigas en salsa de chile ancho

Albondigas is the Spanish word for meatballs and there are several albondiga dishes in Spain and Mexico. Back home, my mom made them in a tomato and chile sauce that I really loved. They also used to make them the same way at my parents’ restaurant fairly often. I really don’t have the recipe my mom and the cooks at the restaurant used for the sauce, but the ancho chile sauce I made came close, I believe, to the one from my culinary memory. I usually made meatballs with ground turkey and a lot of other ingredients thrown in the mixture to make them more interesting and this time was no exception:


Albondigas en salsa de chile ancho

Albondigas in ancho chile sauce

The ingredients:

For the meatballs:

  • 1 lb ground meat
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup cooked pinto beans
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup zucchini, chopped in small cubes
  • 1 TBSP fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

For the sauce:

  • 1 ancho chile, deseeded
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 3-4 cups chicken broth or water (the meatballs will give flavor to the sauce while cooking)
  • 1 tsp gound cumin
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

The preparation:

  1. In a small pot bring to a boil 1/2 cup of water and add the chile ancho and cook until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Drain.
  2. In a large bowl mix all the meatball ingredients very well. Shape the meatballs about the size of golf balls and fried them in about 1/2″ of oil moving them constantly to sear them evenly.
  3. Blend together chile ancho, onion, garlic cloves and tomatoes with 1 cup of broth. Pour into a large pot over medium high heat and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to medium low and add the rest of the broth, cumin, bay leaves and oregano. Mix well.
  5. Add meatballs and bring the sauce to a boil again.
  6. Reduce heat to low and adjust seasoning if necessary. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until meatballs are completely cooked.
  7. Serve with rice and enjoy.

The afterthoughts:

  • I love chile ancho because it is a very mild and almost sweet chile so it complemented the tomato sauce perfectly. The meatballs were very interesting because of the different flavors you found in them in evey bite. This is perfect to keep your family and guests wondering the ingredients you used in them. I served this with tomatillo rice, which recipe I will be posting later in the week.


Albondigas en salsa de chile ancho

¬°Buen provecho!

[donotprint]In another note, the following picture is my entry to Click, the best food photography event on the web, of which I am honored to be a judge this month (I can’t believe it either!). This month’s theme is allium, food for me wouldn’t be the same without that beautiful and delicious botanic famly.[/donotprint]

Red onions


  • Meatballs are one of my favorite dishes, but I must admit I have never tried a Mexican version. This looks delicious. I love the interesting ingredients you added, I would've never thought to add corn to a meatball. And your pictures are wonderful!

  • There are few things as satisfying as a well-made meatball!!! Love the sauce and the onion photo is priceless!!!!

  • First of all I am completely impressed with your photo of the onions. Amazing Ben!!!! Next the albondigas look so delicious I want them to jump off the plate.

  • Hermosas fotos!!!!! :)

    Y las albóndigas se ven deliciosas!! se me antojaron! :)

  • I love the addition of the veggies in the meatballs and the sauce looks wonderful, too. I've been having a meatball hankering lately – I think I'll have to try this!

  • Oh, and that onion photo is simply amazing!!!!

  • Lovely recipe for albodingas…I’ve mostly had them in Spanish tapas bars as a snack and I find them very addictive. I quite like the ingredients you’ve included in yours especially that sauce as I adore all kinds of chillies! Love the photo too!

  • I love the idea of adding zucchini and corn to meatballs and the sauce sounds wonderful! That is a very cool picture of the onions!

  • These sound great! I love the use of turkey, and the sauce looks so good. Great photo of the onions too.

  • Oh, those meatballs looks so spicy and succulent!

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