How to make very tender Spanish Meatballs, "ALBÓNDIGAS".

By Chef H. Delgado

October 10, 2020

This week I have prepared one of the most common dishes in Spain and around world. 

In ancient Rome, meatballs where sold in the street, which would be today street food. At that time only the wealthiest had a kitchen, so street food was prevalent in Rome. The meatballs were the perfect food to eat with your hands and fill the belly well with little money. 

But the true origin of the recipe for the meatballs that we know it in Spain comes from the time of the most significant rise of the Arabs in Spain, Al-Andalus, with the Caliphate of Cordoba and the Alhambra being its main sites. Hence in Spain, we call meatballs, "ALBÓNDIGAS”(al-bunduqa), which in Arabic means "The Ball". They taught the Europeans how to prepare this meatball stew. The Granada historian Luis del Mármol documents the term in his General Description of Africa (1573):

"They sell noodles, almojábanas and meatballs made of minced meat with spices and fried in oil."

 In any case, in almost every culture in the world, we can find a version of these seasoned meatballs that everybody likes so much. 

There are so many ways to prepare them. And you can accompanied them with a lot of garnishes as well, for example a simple salad, white rice, pasta and French fries are the most popular.

Here you have a version of this beautiful dish or Tapa that I have prepared. I love this recipe and I made a diced fried potatoes as a garnish. It is like going back to childhood.

I hope you enjoy preparing my recipes, Practice on this new one and make your stomach and  your family happy. 


Ingredients to cook Meatballs

For the meat mix

  1. Veal minced 750g.
  2. Onion 1u.
  3. A hand of Parsley 
  4. A Clove of garlic.
  5. Salt.
  6. White pepper.
  7. Olive oil 100 ml.
  8. Flour 100 gr.
Ingredients to cook sofrito.

For the stew 

  1. 3 cloves of garlic.
  2. A leek
  3. Green pepper two u.
  4. An onion
  5. Bay leaves 2 u.
  6. White wine 100 ml.
  7. Tomato sauce. 100 ml
  8. Chicken stock 200 ml.


For the Meatballs

  1. Cut the garlic and onion in fine brunoise and place them in a mortar. Incorporate the chopped parsley, salt and olive oil.
  2. It’s time to smash the mortar to break the fibre of onion and get the jus that’s going to make your meat very tender. The onions contain an enzyme that helps with this process.
  1. Add the content of your mortar to a bowl with the minced, salt and white pepper. Mix very well and keep it for a day marinating in the fridge.
Collage Making Meatballs
  1. Take your minced mix and hand make the balls with the side you prefer.
  2. When you have the balls, pass them through the flour and pan-fry them in a pot with oil over medium heat.
  3. When they are shared and brown outside. Take it out and preserve over absorbent paper.
Collage Chefhdelgado cooking meatballs

For the Stew

  1. In the same pot where you pan-fried the meat, add the garlic, leek and green pepper cut in brunoise.
  1. When vegetables are brown, deglaze with withe wine. Leave the alcohol to evaporate for two minutes.
  2. Add the bay leaves, the saffron, the tomato sauce and finally the chicken stock.
Collage making sofrito
  1. Cook all together one more minute and add the meatballs.
  2. Correct salt and pepper and cook them all together over low heat 20 min approx. covered with a lid
  3. When the sauce has the proper texture, it is ready to serve.
Collage of meatballs

I hope you enjoy it! Bon Appetite!

I'm Chef H. Delgado

Love for the product, take care of the technique, elegant execution, and above all, nature and environment respect, are my values ​​as a professional.
It is a pleasure for me to invite you to discover the best dishes and ingredients of Spanish cuisine.

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