Meatballs in Chipotle Sauce (Albondigas al Chipotle)
Meatballs in Chipotle Sauce (Albondigas al Chipotle)
Rating: (1 rated)
Recipe Yield: Serves 8 to 10

For the meatballs:
8 ounces ground beef
8 ounces ground pork
4 ounces finely chopped ham steak
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (1 slice of white bread, toasted and pulsed in a food processor)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup whole milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 large eggs, hard-boiled, each chopped into 12 equal pieces

For the sauce:
1 tablespoon lard or canola oil, plus more for frying
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
3 (14.5-ounce) cans fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
3 canned chipotles en adobo (use less if you want less heat)
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or more to taste
18 corn tortillas
Cooked rice
Cooked beans

Make the meatballs: Mix together the beef, pork, ham, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper. (This works best with your hands.) Mix in the milk and beaten egg until thoroughly combined. Divide into 20 (2-tablespoon) portions. Form each into a patty and place a piece of chopped boiled egg in the center, then wrap the patty around the egg and make sure to close any seams tightly. Roll into a ball. Set aside.

Make the sauce: Heat 1 tablespoon of the lard in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent and soft, 3 minutes. Transfer to a blender jar with the tomatoes, chipotles, and chicken stock, and blend on high until very smooth. Add the salt and refrigerate the sauce for up to 24 hours if you're not ready to use it. To reheat, add 2 teaspoons lard to the same pot and add the sauce when the lard is hot.

Bring the sauce to a boil and add the meatballs, making sure not to break them. Shake the pot a bit to settle the meatballs fully into the sauce. Return to a boil and lower the heat to low, simmering gently, covered, for 1 hour or until fully cooked.

To serve, warm the corn tortillas on a comal or in the microwave and place them in a basket or cloth. Ladle meatballs and heavy spoonfuls of the sauce onto individual plates, making sure the meatballs are completely covered with sauce. Spoon a side of rice and beans onto each plate. Pass the warm tortillas at the table.

Recipe Notes

  • Unless you can find excellent ripe tomatoes, I'd recommend using canned tomatoes for this dish, which are actually more flavorful than the bland tomatoes found year-round in most parts of the United States. The sauce can be prepared ahead of time, and any extra sauce works well drizzled over eggs or pasta.

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