Meatballs the Spanish Way: Serrano Ham, Lemon and Green Olive Meatball Recipe

Meatballs, or albondigas, are a popular Spanish dish and are thought to have originated as a Berber or Arab dish imported to Spain during the period of Muslim rule (al-bunduq is the Arabic term for something small and round). They are often part of a tapas menu, served among other tasty dishes such as patatas bravas or gambas al ajillo, but are equally good as a main dish alongside some green salad and a crusty baguette. 

At Spanish Pig, we have tried many versions of albondigas, but this version inspired by British chef Rick Stein, takes everyday Spanish pantry items and turns your average meatballs into the zingiest of meatballs. We highly recommend giving it a try. 





How to make them:

Cut your serrano ham (150g)  into tiny pieces (you can also use a food processor) and place in a bowl with 350g of each minced chicken and minced pork.

Mix in 3 crushed garlic cloves, 50g of pitted green olives, 2 tbsp. of chopped parsley, zest of 1 lemon and 1/4 tsp. of hot pimentón. Form into meatballs and fry in olive oil until brown all over, making sure not to overcrowd the pan.

Now for the sauce! Fry 1 chopped onion, 3 more crushed garlic cloves and another 1/4 tsp. of pimentón for 10 minutes. Then add 1 large (800g) can of chopped tomatoes, 200ml of dry white wine or sherry, 200ml of chicken stock and a couple of bay leaves.  Simmer for 15 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. 

Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes until cooked through and season to taste.

Remove the bay leaves and serve the meatballs either as a tapa or as main course with some rice or a good baguette. 

These are easy to make, healthy and tasty. Que aproveche!