Traditionally a Tapas dish in Spain, these melt in your mouth, tender and flavour packed Albondigas (meatballs) were a main course in my house.  Firstly because I did not want to share and secondly, these babies are too good to just have one or two.  Served with brown rice and a crisp green salad they were a simple, tasty meal that the entire family loved…..

Prep time:  25  Minutes            

Cooking time:  30  Minutes            

$  Low Budget

Serves 6

For the Albondigas:

Olive oil for frying

1kg of beef & pork mince (available at Coles otherwise use 600gm of beef and 400gm of pork)

2 cloves of garlic, finely minced

1/2 tsp of dried chilli flakes

1 tbs of smoked paprika

1 tbs of fresh thyme leaves (about 12 sprigs, leaves removed and stalks discarded)

1 tbs of tomato paste

1 egg

1/2 cup of breadcrumbs

Sea salt and cracked pepper

For the Sauce:

2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

1 small brown onion, roughly chopped

2 x 400gm tins of tomatoes

1 cup of store bought roasted capsicum (preferably in oil, not brine)

1/2 tsp of sweet paprika

A squeeze of lemon

1/2 tsp of sugar

Sea salt and cracked pepper

1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley, some reserved for garnish

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Sour cream

Brown or white rice to serve

To prepare the Albondigas, in a large mixing bowl place the mince, garlic, smoked paprika, thyme leaves, chilli flakes, tomato paste, egg and bread crumbs.  Season generously with salt and pepper and get your hands in there to really combine the mixture.  Rinse your hands and with your hands a little wet, roll the meatballs between your palms about the size of a golf ball.

Heat a large, heavy based fry pan and add a little olive oil.  Fry the meatballs, in batches until golden.  Don’t worry if they are not cooked all the way through, they will continue to cook in the sauce.  Remove from the pan and set aside.

Place the garlic, onion, paprika, tomatoes, roasted capsicums, lemon, sugar and salt and pepper in a food processor, blender or Nutri Ninja (I now have one and it is great for blending sauces!).  Blend the contents until you have a nice smooth sauce that still has a little texture.  Add the sauce to the same pan as the meatballs and bring to a simmer.  Pop the meatballs back in the pan, stirring gently so they are all covered in the sauce, place a lid on and allow the mixture to simmer for approximately 20 minutes (the longer the better for flavour intensity).  Remove the lid and allow the mixture to reduce for approximately 5 minutes.  Gently stir 2/3 of the parsley through the Albondigas just before serving.

Mix the sour cream with the juice of 1/2 a lemon and a sprinkle of chopped parsley.

Divide the rice between serving plates and top with the Albondigas and sauce.  Place a generous dollop of sour cream on top and sprinkle over the remaining parsley.  Serve with a crisp green salad or steamed greens.  “Buen provecho!”