Meatball Stew

  • Active Time 30m
  • Total Time 1h 20m
  • Rating ****

Serves 4

Meatballs, called albondigas or albondiguillas, are little balls of ground (minced) meat -- although "fishballs" are also made -- bound with egg. The culinary texts of Al-Andalus describe them as "very nutritious, easily digested, fortifying and good for underweight people, the elderly and for those with weak stomachs." In the eighteenth century, rather unusual meatballs were made to welcome unexpected guests, using "breast of fowl, codfish, sturgeon or frogs." Albondigas are still very popular and are a common feature on the menus of cheap restaurants and taverns and as a tapa in bars. In Spanish homes there is also an alternative version called a filete ruso, which is gradually being ousted by the ubiquitous hamburger.


  • For Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 1/2 ounces onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/3 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato sauce (puree)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • Salt
  • For Meatballs:
  • 3 1/2 ounces bread, crusts removed
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 8 ounces pork, ground
  • 8 ounces beef, ground
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Salt
  • 2 eggs
  • All-purpose flour, for coating
  • Olive oil, for frying


FOR SAUCE: First, prepare the sauce by heating the oil in a heatproof casserole and frying the onion and carrot over low heat for 10 minutes. Add the flour. When it browns, add the broth, tomato sauce and white wine. Season with salt and cook over low heat for 20 minutes.

FOR MEATBALLS: Soak the bread in the milk, then press out the excess and mix with the meat, parsley and garlic. Season with salt, add the eggs, and mix well to form a paste. Shape the meatballs with your hands, coated lightly with flour, and transfer to a floured surface.

Heat the oil in a skillet. Fry the meatballs a few at a time and transfer to a heatproof dish as they are cooked.

Put the sauce in a blender and puree. Pour over the meatballs. Cook for 30 minutes over low heat.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Russell. All rights reserved.

RecID 1210

nutrition information per serving

690 calories; 50g total fat; 186mg cholesterol; 355mg sodium; 23g carbohydrates; 2g fiber; 32g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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