Main Dishes Salsas and Sauces — By Ben on 31 August 2009
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:

ancho

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.
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Albondigas en salsa de chile ancho

¡Buen provecho!

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.

Red onions

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About Author

grew up around food. His family owned a restaurant in Mexico City and he spent a big deal of his childhood helping and learning after school the art of creating delicious dishes from simple ingredients. He created this blog to share his kitchen adventures with the world.

(33) Readers Comments

  1. These look really delicious! I hope to make them soon.

  2. This looks like such a great and interesting meal. I love finding new recipes like this that are completely new to me. I'm definitely going to try them out!

  3. Those look so good Ben! The sauce sounds amazing!

  4. Mmm, the ancho chile sauce sounds delicious. It'd be great on eggs or in a burrito.

    • Oh no you didn't! Burritos is a word we don't use around here, now you must be punished, LOL just kidding :D

  5. Interesting meat balls with beans and corn…sound and look delicious, have to try it! :-)

  6. The meatball is almost a veggie ball! The sauce looks/sounds delicious and I'm looking forward to the tomatillo rice recipe. So, all in all, bravo! And another bravo! for the photography!
    P.S. Did you see that I featured your watermelon gazpacho as one of my best picks for August?

    • Hi my friend! Yes I did see that, I am making my way to your blog. Slowly but surely :D

  7. Maravilloso chico. I absolutely love the photos. Meatballs have always been a comfort food for me and my family. I'm trying this out this weekend.

  8. These look so good! I never thought about making Spanish meatballs before. Such a great idea.

  9. YUM! That looks like an amazing dish. Stunning photos on your site!

  10. Albondigas is one of my favorite dishes from Colombia, but I would love to try your Mexican version!

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