Traditional Spanish meatballs: featuring my mother-in-law’s recipe
AsFlorence and The Machine says, dog days are over. There have already been a few times when I have worn my fleece at work and on my way to work. Therefore, being in this time of the year means that we should start filling our menus with comfort food-you know, those kind of contundent, nutritious dishes that satisfy our needs straight away.
And if your hands are just into it and you are a genuine meat lover, then search no more: meatballs is the solution to your problems. I regularly prepare them at home and, personally, I love my meatballs swimming in a tasty tomato sauce (like pisto), slow cooked in a pot and with a side of roasted potatoes. However, the Spanish repertoire in this aspect is quite large and today I am featuring the most traditional way of cooking meatballs. I tried this recipe during my holidays, visiting my girlfriend’s family in Sevilla. My mother-in-law wanted to please us with it and, guess what? She just nailed it!
It was so good that I promised her I would post her recipe here. And here I am, fulfilling my vow. We didn’t talk too much about its origin, but by reading the cooking process it seems to be one of those recipes that have passed down through generations. Firstly, because she uses many ingredients in small amounts. Secondly, because the bread-soaked-in-milk technique dates back to our grandmothers-they used to do it to make the meatballs more tender. All together, it results in an exceptional dish. No arguments.
My advice is: buy the best minced pork you can. The better the meat, the more tender and delicious your meatballs will be.
INGREDIENTS (SERVES 15 MEATBALLS)
For the meatballs
Minced pork (500 g)
The doughy part of half panini bread soaked in milk
Bread crumbs (1 teaspoon)
White wine (a few drops)
For the sauce
Garlic clove (1)
Flour (1 teaspoon)
Smoked paprika (1 teaspoon)
White whine (50 ml)
Nutmeg (1/2 teaspoon)
Chicken stock cube (half)
DIRECTIONS FOR COOKING
We will begin by seasoning the meat. Put the pork mince in a bowl and add the salt, the pepper, the garlic (crushed) and the parsley (well chopped). Blend everything and then add the bread soaked in milk, the wine drops, the egg (beaten) and the bread crumbs. Blend again and add more bread crumbs if the mixture is too moist. Once it’s done, cover with cling film and set aside for later.
2. Now let’s cook the sauce. Pour olive oil in a pot and simmer the onion until it’s completely transparent. Then, add the flour and the smoked paprika and integrate it well. Finish with the nutmeg, the stock cube, the wine and when the alcohol evaporates pour some water (but not too much). Stir and cook at low heat with the lid on.
3. While the sauce is heating up, grind manually a garlic clove with some fresh parsley and a dash of water. This majado is going to be your flavour booster so make sure all ingredients have come together in a rather thick texture. Once done, tip it into the sauce and stir.
4. Time to shape the meatballs. With your hands, take small portions of meat and roll them into balls. Lightly coat them in flour and sear in a skillet with sunflower oil at high heat.
5. Once they are golden brown, drop them into the pot. Add more water to the sauce and cook at low heat for 25-30 minutes with the lid on. Shake the pot gently a couple of times to mix everything and add salt if it’s necessary.
6. When the sauce is slightly thick, remove the pot from the heat and let it sit 5 to 10 minutes with the lid on. It will be ready to eat afterwards.