Tuesday 6 March 2012

Friday favourites - Spanish meatballs (albondigas) and patatas bravas

It took me about an hour to whip these up, and they were delicious. The dishes are simple and easily to prepare. I also managed to take photos. For once.
Spanish meatballs

The two recipes are adapted from a gift from my Irish SiL; Tapas, meze and other bites to share, by Annie Rigg.

For the sauce:
about a tablespoon of olive oil
2 onions (I used two small ones and half a red one that was loitering in the fridge
loads of garlic. Loads. I think I used about five fat cloves.
a good sprinkle of dried oregano
a chilli, either fresh or dried
a sprinkle of freshly ground cumin seeds
200 ml red wine
a stock cube
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
salt n pepper

For the albondigas (that’s the meatballs – I learned that this weekend in my kitchen):
550g sausages or sausage meat or veal and pork mince
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
a sprinkle of freshly ground cumin seeds
a small egg
a handful of breadcrumbs
a dribble of milk
chopped parsley, if you have any

Heat the oil in a heavy pot. Add the chopped onions and cook for five minutes, until they soften. Add the garlic and oregano and cook for another minute or two. Put half the cooked onion mixture into a bowl and leave to cool. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients to the pot and bring to a simmer.

Skin the sausages, adding the meat into the reserved half of the onions. Tip all the other meatball ingredients in there and mix with your hands. Make into 15-20 balls. I added these directly to the simmering sauce and cooked it for 30 minutes with the lid on and another 10-15 minutes without it to get a thick sauce. Taste the sauce and add more chilli or seasoning as you like.

The ‘magic’ ingredient in any meatball or burger is the breadcrumbs. I didn’t believe this for ages, but they really make the finished products really moist.

While the meatballs are cooking, you can get on with the patatas bravas. Heat the oven to 225°. You will need about one large potato per person. Peel and chop them into bite-sized chunks. Boil these for about seven minutes. While these are cooking, get the spices together. You will need:
-       2 tablespoons of olive oil
-       loads of garlic, I think I used 4 cloves, crushed
-       1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
-       1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
-       1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
-       a good pinch of ground, dried chilli

Cover the base of a large flat dish with the oil. Add all the other ingredients to the oil and mix them around. Drain the chopped potatoes and empty these into the spiced oil. Toss to coat and pop into the oven for 30 minutes.

Serve both with a good glass of Spanish red wine (or white, or beer).


  1. What kind of stock cube do you use?

    1. Hi Grex9101,
      I usually use either a Knorr or Oxo chicken stock cube. I prefer the Oxo one's, only because you can crumble them better.