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Saucy Spicy Meatballs (Albondigas)

Saucy Spicy Chipotle Meatballs (Albondigas)

  • Author: Irena Macri
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Fried & Braised
  • Cuisine: Tex Mex


These saucy and spicy chipotle meatballs (or albondigas) are juicy and delicious. Braised in a spiced, Tex Mex inspired tomato sauce, these meatballs are finger lickin’ delicious and can be served over rice, veggies, quinoa or used in tacos and salads.


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil (or ghee, lard, avocado oil)
  • 1 large brown onion, finely diced

For the meatballs

  • 800 g /1.8 lb grass-fed ground beef mince
  • 3 medium dried chipotle chilies (tinned chipotle can also be used), seeds out
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon sweet or mild paprika
  • 1.5 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (lard, ghee or avocado oil for cooking)

For the sauce

  • ½ onion, mentioned above (the rest of what’s used in the meatballs)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 2 medium chipotle chilies, seeds out
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin seed
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 400 g / 1 can diced tomatoes or tomato puree (about 1 ½ cups)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • You will need a large, deep frying pan


  1. If using dried chipotle chilies, place them in hot water to rehydrate, for at least an hour before using.
  2. Heat a teaspoon of cooking fat or oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and add the onion. Sauté the onion for 3-5 minutes until translucent. Remove to a bowl. Use half of the onion for the meatballs mix and reserve the rest for the sauce.
  3. While onion is cooking, pre-chop other ingredients for the meatballs. Slice the chipotle chilies in half and remove the seeds. Chop with a knife or grind with mortar and pestle into a paste-like consistency.
  4. Combine ground beef with half of the cooked onion, chopped garlic and chipotle chilies, paprika, cumin, coriander seed, and salt. Mix and knead through using your hands. Using clean, wet hands roll the mix into small balls (somewhere between a walnut and a golf ball size). Set aside until ready to cook.
  5. Preheat a dollop of olive oil or other cooking fat in the same large frying pan until sizzling hot. Cook the meatballs on medium-high heat for 3 minutes on each side, until well browned.
  6. Add the rest of the cooked onion, garlic, two chopped chilies and the sauce spices to the pan with the meatballs. Stir through and add the diced tomatoes/puree. Combine and cook for 8-10 minutes uncovered, stirring frequently to make sure the meatballs cook evenly and the sauce is well combined.
  7. Taste for salt. Drizzle with a little lime juice before serving.

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