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Menu del Día - Meatballs in Vegetable sauce
03 December 2020 @ 18:24

Meatballs are one of those fantastic dishes for large numbers. It is easy to make in a large batch, it freezes well and who doesn't like them? In Spain, they are normally served with a vegetable sauce and frequently called  "Albondigas a la jardinera". They are one of my staple dishes at home and I thought I would share with you the classic Spanish recipe. Of course,  there are many variations and you can modify the recipe as you wish, but this is the standard version you will probably find on a "Menu del dia" this time of year. So, let's crack on...

 


Ingredients for 4 people

For the meatball mix: 

750 g. minced meat (pork, beef)
2 medium eggs
150 g. crustless sliced bread and 5 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley plus a little more for sprinkling
2 cloves of garlic
1 onion
Salt, nutmeg, and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
Flour to coat the meatballs
Extra virgin olive oil

For the sauce:

1  onion
2 carrots
1/2 red pepper
100 g. peas
400 g. of potatoes
2 cloves of garlic
125 ml of white wine, 1/2 l of chicken broth and water (if necessary)
A few strands of saffron, salt, black pepper and 1 bay leaf
Mild extra virgin olive oil

 

When it comes to meatballs I always like to mix 50% pork and 50% beef mince. I like to buy my meat at the butcher's and then mince it at home, but any decent mince will do, to be honest. First, we are going to make the meatballs:

1. Season the minced meat, both veal and pork, in a large bowl. and mix together. Crack open the 2 eggs and add them together with the nutmeg, the fresh parsley and the slices of bread without the crust that we have previously soaked in milk for a few minutes. 
2. Let the mixture rest.
3. Laminate the garlic and finely chop the onion. Add some water to a pan and poach the onion and garlic for a few minutes. This will help the onion to soften and thus our meatballs will have a more homogeneous texture. It will also slightly reduce the strength of the garlic and the onion.
4. Once poached after a couple of minutes, drain and cool with cold water before adding it to the meat mixture, season with salt and pepper.
5.  Add a dessert spoon of extra virgin olive oil to the mixture and mix everything well with our hands until the ingredients are evenly mixed. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for an hour in the fridge.
6. . After the resting time, remove the meat from the refrigerator and start making small balls with the meat mix. If you keep your hands wet while you do this, the meat won't stick to your fingers. I normally have a finger bowl with water next to me when I make them.
6. Pour the flour onto a plate and then pass the meatballs through the flour so they have a thin coating all over.
7. Put the floured meatballs to one side on a clean plate. Shake them a little to remove excess flour.
8. Fry the meatballs in hot extra virgin olive oil, for about three minutes is enough. The idea is to seal them and lightly brown them, then put to one side. They don't need to be cooked all the way through at this stage.

 


Now for the sauce:


1. Wash and dice the onion. Laminate the garlic clove and place in a wide deep pan. Add a dash of virgin olive oil and poach the onion and garlic in a little water for about 3-5 minutes until it has almost evaporated completely.
2. Cut the carrots and the red pepper into small pieces. 
3. When the onion has gone transparent, add the rest of the carrots and red pepper and sauté them all together. 
4. After a minute or so,  add a heaped teaspoon of flour to the pan and toast the flour for a minute, stirring well.
5. Let the ingredients release all their liquids for about 5 minutes. When it has reduced, pour in the white wine and let it cook over high heat to cook off the alcohol and  until the wine has reduced a little - about 10 min
6. Now add the meatballs to the pan. Don't put them on top of each other. Try and use a wide pan so they all have their own space.
7. Add the saffron and the bay leaf.
8. Add the chicken stock and the peas and let them cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes. If the stock is too thick you can rectify by adding more water. Make sure the water is boiling so it doesn't stop cooking.
9. Once the sauce has reduced to the right consistency season and taste for salt.
10. Let the meatballs rest for about 5 minutes and serve with fried potato slices, chips, mashed potatoes or even white rice. Or you could just eat them as they are with some crusty bread.

 


Serve and enjoy!



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