Albóndigas with Olives

Serves 6-8 | Prep: 15 minutes | Cook: 25 minutes


For the meatballs:

  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 lb ground turkey breast
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup grated Manchego or parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated yellow onion
  • 5 oz finely chopped Spanish manzanilla olives
  • 4 cloves grated or minced garlic
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoonWorcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon saffron
  • 32 oz diced tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 5 oz Spanish manzanilla olives


Make the meatballs:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F with a rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment, foil or a silicone mat.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the pork, turkey, breadcrumbs, cilantro, cheese, onion, olives, garlic, egg, oregano, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of olive oil until well combined.
  3. Using a cookie scoop or small ice cream scoop, divide the mixture into even sized meatball portions about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. You should have about 22 meatballs.
  4. Coat your hands with remaining olive oil and roll the balls until smooth and place on baking sheet.
  5. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

Make the tomato sauce:

  1. While the meatballs bake, heat the oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic is just beginning to turn golden brown.
  3. Add the beef broth and saffron and bring to a boil.
  4. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, sugar, and season with salt and pepper. Using a heavy spoon, mash the tomatoes as the sauce begins to bubble. If you have an immersion blender, this would be a good time to blend the sauce to your desired consistency, just be careful not to blend the bay leaf.
  5. Lower heat and let the sauce simmer partially covered.
  6. When the meatballs are done, add them to the sauce, along with the olives, and let it cook for about 5 minutes more.
  7. Drizzle the albondigas with a touch more olive oil and serve immediately with warm bread.

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