Recipe Index

Spanish | Spanish Meatballs (Albondigas Al Azafran)

Posted on February 24, 2014

These are so good. I use a small ice cream scoop to make the meatballs.

Yield: 35 to 40 meatballs

spanish meatballs



2 slices white bread, torn into small pieces

1/3 cup whole milk

8 ounces 85% lean ground beef

8 ounces ground pork

1/2 ounce Manchego cheese or Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

1 large egg yolk

1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil



1 small onion, minced

1 small tomato, cored, seeded, and chopped medium

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves

1 tablespoon finely chopped almonds

2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)

1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled

1/4 teaspoon sweet Spanish paprika

salt, to taste

freshly ground pepper, to taste



For the MEATBALLS: In a large bowl, mash the bread and milk together to form a smooth paste. Add the ground meats, Manchego, parsley, yolk, garlic, salt, and pepper to the mashed bread and mix until uniform.

Shape the mixture into 1/2-inch round meatballs (1 teaspoon per meatball; you should have 35 to 40 meatballs.)

Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half of the meatballs and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the meatballs to a paper towel lined plate and repeat with the remaining meatballs. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the oil left in the skillet.

For the SAUCE: Add the onion to the oil left in the skillet and cook over medium heat, scraping up any browned bits, until very soft and lightly browned, 6 to 9 minutes.

Stir in the tomato and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the broth, wine, and bay leaves, then carefully return the meatballs to the skillet. Cover and simmer until the meatballs are just cooked through, 5 to 10 minutes.

While the meatballs cook, mash together the parsley, almonds, garlic, saffron, paprika, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper.

When the meatballs are cooked, remove and discard the bay leaves.

Stir the saffron mixture into the sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the meatballs and sauce to a serving dish and serve immediately.


(Ref. Sur La Table's "Albondigas Al Azafran - Meatballs in Saffron Tomato Sauce" recipe, "Tapas: Small Plates from Spain" class.)