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Seasonal Spanish Food
by Jose Pizarro

Albondigas, or meatballs, are hugely popular all over Spain, and the favorite way of making them is with tomato sauce. But my dad loves them with onion sauce, so that's the way we always have them. My variation on my mother's recipe is the addition of blue cheese to the meatballs.
Serves 4 (makes about 24 meatballs)


    · 3/4 lb ground beef
    · 3/4 lb ground pork
    · 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
    · 2 large free-range eggs, beaten
    · 1/4 cup dry white wine
    · salt and freshly ground black pepper
    · 5 flat-leaf parsley sprigs, chopped
    · 3½ oz blue cheese, such as Gorgonzola or Stilton
    · 1/2 cup flour, for dusting
    · extra virgin olive oil, for frying

    Onion Sauce
    · 1 medium onion, finely diced
    · 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    · 1 teaspoon plain flour
    · 2½ cups chicken stock, warmed
    · 5 flat-leaf parsley sprigs, chopped
    · 1/4, cup toasted almond slivers


Mix together the meats, garlic, eggs, wine, salt and pepper, and parsley. The easiest way to do this is with your hands—really squish everything together thoroughly. Set the mixture aside in the fridge for a couple of hours to allow the flavors to develop. Make golf ball size pieces of the mixture—about 1 oz—and roll them into a neat ball: you should make about 24.

Break the cheese up into small nuggets. Take a meatball in one hand, and with your other hand use your thumb to make a hole in the meatball. Add a piece of cheese and close up the hole by pinching the meat mixture together. Roll the meatball again and make sure the cheese is fully covered in the meat. Repeat until all the meatballs have a piece of cheese in the middle. Next, roll the meatballs in the flour.

Pour enough olive oil into a medium-sized frying pan or wok to come halfway up the meatballs once they are added. Heat the oil over medium heat and once it is hot, cook the meatballs in batches, about 5 or 6 at a time. Allow 1 minute on each side. Drain them on paper towels and keep warm.

To make the onion sauce, saute the onion in the olive oil until soft but not colored. This will take about 5 minutes. Add the flour, stir, and cook for another minute, before adding the warm stock. Season with salt and pepper, stir well, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove any froth that comes to the surface. Blend the sauce with a hand blender to give it a smooth consistency. Bring the sauce back to a simmer, add the meatballs, and cook for another minute.

Divide the meatballs and sauce between four warmed bowls, scatter the almonds and parsley over the top, and eat immediately.

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