Recipe of the Week!

February 24, 2010

Meatballs – a classic Italian delight.  Or is it?  According to a guy I seldom mention on this blog, Rick Bayless, meatballs are also a traditional staple of authentic Mexican cooking, with flavors slightly different from those found in the Italian versions.  This was the first time I’d ever made meatballs of any kind, and I will be making these over and over again – the chipotle adds a nice smoky flavor without too much spice, and the meatball texture is moist and tender.  The bacon really boosts the depth of the dish.  Serve it with some cheese quesadillas and a salad, and it’s a meal fit for this week’s Recipe of the Week.  Enjoy!

Rick Bayless’ Chipotle Meatballs

(serves 4)

  • 3 slices bacon in 1-inch pieces

  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs

  • Salt

  • 1 ¼ pounds ground pork

  • 1/2 cup (loosely packed) coarsely chopped mint leaves, more for garnish

  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes (preferably fire-roasted), drained of all but ¼ cup juice

  • 1 or 2 canned chipotle chilies in adobo, stemmed, seeded and sauce reserved

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • About 1½ cups beef or chicken broth.

Heat oven to 450 degrees. In a food processor, combine bacon and 1 garlic clove. Process until finely chopped. Add eggs, bread crumbs and 1 teaspoon salt. Pulse several times to combine thoroughly, then add pork and mint. Pulse a few more times until well combined but not a paste. Remove meat from processor.  With wet hands, form meat into about 16 plum-size balls and space them out in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes.  While meatballs bake, combine tomatoes, ¼ cup tomato juice, chipotles, 1 to 2 tablespoons chipotle sauce, oregano, remaining garlic cloves (cut in half) and ½ teaspoon salt in a blender or food processor. Process to a smooth purée.  When meatballs are ready, spoon off rendered fat from baking dish, then pour tomato mixture on top, covering meatballs evenly. Bake until sauce has thickened somewhat, 15 to 20 minutes.  Heat broth in a small saucepan. Divide meatballs among four dinner plates, leaving sauce behind. Stir enough broth into sauce to give it a spoonable consistency. Taste and season with salt, if necessary. Spoon sauce over meatballs, decorate with extra mint leaves, if you wish, and serve.



  1. Mmmmmmmm….albondigas are to die for! Love them with verde salsa. I am making spaghetti and meatballs for dinner tonight. Great food minds thinking alike again!

  2. Mmmmmmmm….albondigas! I love them with salsa verde. Tonight I am making spaghetti and meatballs. Great food minds think alike 🙂

    • I forgot to include that I recommend keeping the chipotle seeds in the dish – it wasn’t quite spicy enough for me. I made the leftovers into a meatball sandwich – yum.

  3. I *love* meatballs.

  4. Damn! This sounds really good!

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