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Meatballs in Chipotle Sauce


Albondigas, the Spanish word for meatballs, is also the name of this traditional dish in which they are simmered in a spicy tomato sauce.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

Source: Everyday Food, May 2004


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground pork
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely grated and squeezed firmly to remove excess liquid
  • 1 small zucchini, coarsely grated and squeezed firmly to remove excess liquid
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, with juice
  • 1-2 chipotle chiles in adobo
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Cooked rice and chopped fresh cilantro, for serving (optional)


  1. In a medium bowl, combine pork, onion, zucchini, egg, breadcrumbs, oregano, cumin, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; mix well with a fork. Form into 16 (2-inch) balls; transfer to a plate, and place in freezer until firm, 10 to 15 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, combine tomatoes and chiles in a blender; process until smooth, and set aside.

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large, straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the meatballs; cook until brown, turning often, 4 to 5 minutes; transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining oil and meatballs.

  4. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add pureed sauce and return all meatballs to skillet. Cover; simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Uncover, and simmer until sauce is thickened, 5 to 10 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over rice, sprinkled with cilantro, as desired.

Cook's Notes

This is a good dish to make ahead. Let it cool, then refrigerate in a covered container for up to 2 days. Reheat, partially covered, over moderate heat before serving.

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