Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Spanish Meatballs -- Holiday Guests #1

I met Michele this fall and she has become one of my closest blogging pals. I am so pleased that she agreed to be the first of my Holiday Guests in my guest post series. Her blog - Fit Foodista - is a great source for wonderful recipes and fitness tips - she also hosts a monthly blog carnival of great health, fitness and food recipes published on the 17th (you can enter up until the 15th of each month). I love this recipe and can't wait to try!

OK – so why the heck is FIT Foodista offering rich, decadent Spanish Meatballs with White Wine, Garlic and Saffron? This is most definitely not a typical recipe for me; but since it’s a special occasion – a guest post for one of my favorite blogger pals, and the holidays are nearly upon us – I decided to splurge. This recipe is a traditional Spanish Tapas recipe adapted from a Penelope Casas book, The Foods and Wines of Spain.
One of the advantages of being the sole cook in the house is control over the family diet….for at least one meal each day anyway! My family has been patiently enduring a slow reduction in the quantity of meat we eat. We never ate a lot; but I’m still making cuts where I can. The way I see it, if we can get the majority of our nutrients from vegetables and small quantities of lean protein, we’ll be less of a drain on the environment and maintain better health while doing so. It’s a win-win! So, as a thanks to my Peeps and a reward for their lack of grumbling, I made these the other day. The minute my Step Son (aka The Boy With Great Sadness That We’re Cutting Back on Meat) walked in the door after school, he sniffed the air like a puppy on his first car ride and was overcome with a goofy grin. My husband, who never complains about the lack of meaty-things, scarfed down two servings with a glazed look in his eyes; and even my daughter, who could be 100% vegetarian before I could, managed to put aside her food politics and indulge lustily.

Whether you decide to offer these as an appetizer at your holiday party or as a treat for your well deserving family, people will love ya!

The recipe made almost 50 one inch meatballs – far more than I needed for dinner.
These can be made with ground turkey too!
Appetizer size would be smaller; but I made them as a main dish size meatball (about 1 inch) and served them with a very simple saffron-almond rice pilaf studded with green peas.

Spanish Meatballs with White Wine, Garlic and Saffron

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup finely chopped almonds
  • 1 cup finely diced onion
  • ½ cup finely diced parsley
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup dried bread crumbs
  1. In a large bowl beat eggs lightly.
  2. Add salt, pepper, almonds, onion, parsley and garlic.
  3. Stir well.
  4. In a separate bowl mix together turkey, pork and breadcrumbs.
  5. Pour egg mixture over meat mixture and combine well.
  6. Form into meatballs (smaller for appetizers, larger for main dish)
  7. Sauté meatballs in batches over medium-high heat or bake in a 375 degree oven for ten minutes or until done. Length of time will depend upon size.

Wine, Garlic and Saffron Sauce

3/4 cup minced onion
6 cloves minced garlic
4 tablespoons olive oil or 4 tablespoons of drippings from cooked meatballs
4 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups chicken or beef stock
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon saffron
½ cup chopped parsley

  1. Sauté onion and garlic until translucent.
  2. Add flour, stir well and cook for two minutes.
  3. Whisk in wine and broth.
  4. Simmer and reduce for 15 minutes.
  5. Stir in smoked paprika and saffron, continue cooking for 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in parsley.
  7. Add meatballs and gently fold into sauce.


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