Recipe: Amazing Albondigas or Mexican Meatballs

by Anne Maxfield on March 15, 2010

The Accidental Locavore has been making albondigas or Mexican meatballs  for years, and keep trying different versions, this one, adapted from Rick Bayliss‘ “Mexican Everyday” is my favorite. When my husband is in a bad mood, a plate of these cheer him right up! Bonus, they’re quick and easy.

Albondigas al Chipotle

  • 3 slices bacon cut into 1″ pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves peeled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs, or 3/4 cup panko(I usually use panko)
  • Salt
  • 1 1/4 pounds ground pork
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes in juice (fire-roasted are the best)
  • 1-2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, and 1-2 tablespoons of the canning sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • Lime and avocado for garnish

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
In a food processor combine the bacon and 1 of the garlic cloves. Process until finely chopped. Add the eggs, bread crumbs, and 1 teaspoon salt. Pulse to combine thoroughly. Add the pork and mint. Pulse until everything is just combined, but not over-processed (into a paste). Form the meat into 16 two-inch balls, and space them out on a 13×9″ baking dish (I use a gratin pan). Bake about 15 minutes until lightly browned.

While the meatballs are cooking: Combine the tomatoes, their juice, chipotles, and the canning sauce, oregano, the 2 remaining garlic cloves cut in half, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender or food processor. Process to a smooth puree. When the meatballs are lightly brown, pour the tomato puree over them, covering them evenly. Bake until the sauce thickens about 15-20 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: I could make this once a week and my husband would be thrilled! I’ve made a lot of albondigas recipes, but this is the one I make over and over. What I’ve learned, is that it’s best to warm up the tomato sauce for a minute or two in the microwave, before pouring it over the meatballs. I’ve had ceramic baking dishes crack and that prevents it. Serve with wedges of lime and diced avocado to garnish.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Lori February 21, 2014 at 8:04 pm

Sounds amazing. I am quite sure my husband would love these as well.

Anne Maxfield December 31, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Bacon is raw (it gets cooked when it’s mixed with the pork and baked), that way it adds fat and flavor to the meatballs.

Bonnie December 31, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Anne, this sounds sooo good. A question, I hope isn’t too lame. Is the bacon raw or cooked when combined with the garlic in the processor?

Nancy Hamilton July 18, 2011 at 7:58 am

This is such a valuable resource,Anne! I;ll get Joan and Warren over to see it, after my cousins who are arriving @9:30 leave. I’ve baked some biscotti, since I expect they’ll have eaten at Craignair-but just in case, I’ll be ready for a quick veggie abondigas.

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