Albóndigas – Meatballs

Albóndigas are always on the Tapas menu wherever you go and are one of my favourites, but it does vary in style. I have ordered this Albóndigas in Spain many times and I don’t think it has ever been the same. Sometimes Albóndigas comes with chopped pieces of calamari or cuttlefish, sometimes the sauce is more of tomato sauce sometimes a gravy and sometimes they add almond paste to the sauce to thicken it and then sprinkle crushed almond over the top. But no matter what variation you get they are always good!

This recipe I got from watching Rick Stein’s Spain but it is without the cuttlefish and prawns and I am using minced pork but you can of course mix pork and beef or pork and chicken.

Serves 6


  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 1 large vine-ripenedor beef tomato (about 200g) halved
  • 2 tsp tomato purée
  • 2 slices white bread with crusts removed
  • 1.5 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 500g minced pork
  • 150ml Chicken stock or water
  • 100g peas, fresh or frozen
  • 1 pinch, freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Picada

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled but left whole
  • 1 slice white bread with crust removed
  • 10g toasted blanched almonds
  • 1 small vine-ripened or beef tomato, halved
  • 1 tsp flat-leaf parsley leaves

Preparartion method:

Start off by grating the halved tomatoes for the tomato sauce and the picada, pressing the fleshy, cut face of the tomato against the grater. This is a great (no pun intended) way of getting the skin off the tomato as it stays stuck to the grater. Discard the skin.

For the Picada, heat the olive oil in a small frying pan over a medium heat, add the garlic cloves and slice of bread and fry until golden brown. Remove and pat off the oil with kitchen roll then put in a mini food processor with the almonds, tomato, parsley and 1 tablespoon cold water and blend to a paste then set aside.

Put 2 tablespoons of the oil, half the garlic and the onion into a pan and fry for 10 minutes until soft and lightly golden. Add the wine, grated tomato and tomato purée and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 6-7 minutes until reduced and thickened.

For the meatballs, tear the bread into a small bowl and drizzle with the milk and leave until soft.Then when soaked in the milk break up the bread with your fingers and add the remaining chopped garlic, the parsley, minced pork, nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and black pepper, mix together well and shape into 2.5-3cm balls.

Heat the oil and add the meatballs and fry for about 3-4 minutes, shaking the pan every now and then, until golden brown then set aside on a plate. Discard any oil left in the pan
and heat another tablespoon of oil in the pan

Add the tomato sauce to the pan and stir in the Picada and simmer for a couple minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, stir in the stock or water and bring to the boil, stirring then add the peas, meatballs and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with some rustic bread.