Spanish Cocktail Meatballs with Piquillo Pepper Tomato Sauce, Bonus Spain Pics

Spanish Cocktail Meatballs with Piquillo Pepper Tomato Sauce

Fried or boiled? That is the question. While pan-frying meatballs yields a deliciously caramelized crust, the final product is likely to be in the shape of a pyramid, rather than round, because the heavier sides may sag while cooking. A simmered meatball, however, will retain its shape as long as the underside doesn’t fully rest on the bottom of the pan. Less oil is used, resulting in fewer calories and fat grams. I elect the simmering procedure in this recipe, but the decision lies in your hands.

While traveling in Spain last summer, I enjoyed a variation of these meatballs (albondigas con tomate) in tapas taverns , but an order comprised one gigantic meatball slathered in a sweet pepper sauce.  My version of bite-size meatballs is perfect for making ahead for a cocktail party and reheating just in time for your guests’ arrival.

Find bottle piquillo peppers in the international food section of most grocery stores.

Spanish Cocktail Meatballs with Piquillo Pepper Tomato Sauce

For the sauce:

2 teaspoons (10 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

4 jarred roasted piquillo or red bell peppers, cut into thin strips

1/4 cup (40 g) thinly sliced onion

2 teaspoons (6 g) minced garlic

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 cup (60 ml) white wine

1 (28-ounce, or 784 g) can whole tomatoes

1 teaspoon (2.5 g) sweet or smoked paprika

1 pinch salt

For the meatballs:

1 lb (453 g) lean ground chicken

1/4 cup (40 g) grated onion

1/4 cup (28 g) whole-wheat breadcrumbs

1 egg

2 teaspoons (5 g) sweet or smoked paprika

2 teaspoons (10 ml) red wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup (15 g) chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley

 

Heat a large skillet or sauté pan on medium-low heat and add oil to the hot pan. Add peppers, onion, garlic and chile flakes and cook gently until tender, reducing heat as vegetables shrink, about 10 minutes. Add wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits from the sides and bottom of pan. Add tomatoes, paprika and salt and bring to a simmer.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine chicken, onion, breadcrumbs, egg, paprika, vinegar, thyme, pepper and salt. Shape heaping tablespoons of meat mixture with hands or use a small ice cream scoop, and drop each meatball into the simmering sauce. As meatballs turn a lighter color underneath and are cooked on one side, gently rotate them with a spoon to cook all sides and to cook through.

Garnish meatballs with chopped parsley and serve with toothpicks.

Prep time: 35 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Makes 7 servings, 3 each (coated in sauce)

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 158 calories, 7 g total fat (2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 328 mg sodium, 75 mg cholesterol, 10 g total carbohydrate (2 g fiber), 13 g protein, 14% DV iron, 5% DV calcium, 15% DV Vitamin A, 36% DV Vitamin C.

Spanish Cocktail Meatballs with Piquillo Pepper Tomato Sauce

Bonus Spain pictures from the town I at the meatballs! Please, to enjoy.

Michelle Dudash in El Rioja wine region in SpainMe striking a pose from a tiny village in El Rioja wine region of Spain. Donning my air-dried lioness vacation hair.

Street of tiny village in El Rioja wine region of Spain

Street of tiny village in El Rioja wine region of Spain.

Spanish restaurant menu in El Rioja wine region

Spanish restaurant menu in El Rioja wine region.

 

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Spanish Cocktail Meatballs with Piquillo Pepper Tomato Sauce

Spanish Cocktail Meatballs with Piquillo Pepper Tomato Sauce

By Team Michelle Published: December 5, 2012

  • Yield: 3 each (7 Servings)
  • Prep: 35 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Ready In: 60 mins

Easy Spanish meatballs in delicious and warm piquillo pepper tomato sauce.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat a large skillet or sauté pan on medium-low heat and add oil to the hot pan. Add peppers, onion, garlic and chile flakes and cook gently until tender, reducing heat as vegetables shrink, about 10 minutes. Add wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits from the sides and bottom of pan. Add tomatoes, paprika and salt and bring to a simmer.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine chicken, onion, breadcrumbs, egg, paprika, vinegar, thyme, pepper and salt. Shape heaping tablespoons of meat mixture with hands or use a small ice cream scoop, and drop each meatball into the simmering sauce. As meatballs turn a lighter color underneath and are cooked on one side, gently rotate them with a spoon to cook all sides and to cook through.
  3. Garnish meatballs with chopped parsley and serve with toothpicks.
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