These delicious little meaty bites, smothered in a rich and slightly picante tomato sauce are a staple of the Spanish tapas bar, especially in the heartland of Spain, where meat is on the menu more than seafood. The dish is a great example of how simple Spanish cooking can produce wholesome tasty food, and is popular with both the grown ups and the little ones in our house! I tend to make a large batch of meatballs (double the amount of meat below) and then freeze half of them before cooking to be used again the next time.
Ingredientes (Serves 6-8 as a tapa)
- 200g minced pork
- 200g minced beef or veal
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp chopped thyme leaves
- 1 tbsp of breadcrumbs
- 1 small beaten egg
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves of crushed garlic
- 1 large red pepper finely chopped
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes, or 6 large fresh tomatoes chopped
- 1 tsp sweet paprika (dulce)
- ½ tsp hot paprika (picante)
- Splash of sherry vinegar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh chopped parsley to garnish (optional)
- Make the tomato sauce first. Begin by gently cooking the onion to soften for 5 minutes in olive oil, add the garlic, paprika and diced peppers and cook for another few minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, sherry vinegar, a pinch of salt and twist of pepper, reduce the heat and leave to simmer gently for 15 minutes until rich and thick, then put aside until needed.
- To make the meatballs, begin by sweating off the onion for 5 minutes in olive oil until softened, then remove and leave to cool.
- In a separate bowl put the pork, beef, cumin, thyme, breadcrumbs, a good pinch of salt and pepper and then add the cooled onion, beaten egg and combine well.
- With wet hands (to avoid the mixture sticking) shape the mixture into small bite-sized balls. Place on a plate and chill in the fridge for at least 10 minutes.
- When ready to cook, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the meatballs off in batches for about 10 minutes each, turning as they cook to brown on all sides.
- Warm the sauce and pour over the meatballs, sprinkling with fresh parsley at the last minute if you wish. Serve with crusty bread to mop up the delicious sauce!