Today David takes on meatballs with a recipe for a delicious mix of ground pork and chorizo. Spanish albóndigas come in all shapes, sizes, and sauces — but these are truly delicious. Enjoy!
If there’s a better tapas dish than albóndigas, I don’t want to know about it! This tapas bar classic is one of my favorite things to eat anywhere in Spain, with hundreds of different styles to try.
Albóndiga is the Spanish version of a meatball. It’s a strange word, derived from the Arabic al-bunduq (hazelnut, or round shape). So why does a tapas dish have an Arabic name? The best guess is that these meatballs were first introduced to Spain by Arab or Berber peoples during the time of the Moors.
Lucky for us, it stuck around! Nowadays you’ll find it on almost every tapas menu at an old-school tavern. There are plenty of ways to make an albóndiga, but I don’t think you can beat the classic Spanish meatballs made with minced pork and often spiced with chorizo for extra flavor.
Spanish Meatballs Recipe: Pork & Chorizo Albondigas
This albóndiga recipe is for the traditional pork and chorizo meatballs you’ll get anywhere in Spain, served in a lightly spiced tomato sauce.
You can serve them as an appetizer or as a main, or even as part of a tapas board! To make it truly Spanish, go for semi-cured (i.e. uncooked) Spanish chorizo. Unlike chorizo from Mexico, it won’t be spicy. Spanish chorizo tends to be spiced with sweet and smoky paprika, which really give a whack of depth to the meatballs. As always, I recommend using extra virgin Spanish olive oil for extra flavor.
And once you’ve mastered the classic, why not give another version of these meatballs a try? Check out my recipe for albondigas de choco, the cuttlefish meatballs beloved by Andalusia or try Lauren’s meatballs in a saffron almond sauce.
Classic Albóndigas Recipe (Spanish Chorizo and Pork Meatballs)
- 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 300 g 2/3 pound semi-cured Spanish chorizo, chopped into small pieces
- 300 g 2/3 pound pork mince
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg
- Pinch of salt and black pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 cup white wine or dry sherry wine for extra authenticity
- 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 400 g 14oz can of crushed or diced tomatoes
- 1 handful fresh parsley leaves to serve
- Salt and pepper to taste
- To make the meatballs, first start by frying the onions and garlic with the chorizo. Place a heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add one tablespoon of the olive oil. When it's hot, add the chopped chorizo and saute to release the fat, for 5 minutes or until the meat turns a darker, golden color. Add the diced onion and saute for 3 minutes or until translucent.
- Add the garlic and saute together until aromatic (about 1 or 2 minutes). Take off the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, combine the pork mince, breadcrumbs, paprika, thyme leaves, egg, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Add the onions, garlic, and chorizo and mix until well-combined.
- Wet your fingers gently with water roll the mixture into whatever size meatballs you prefer. (Keep in mind that larger meatballs will need longer cooking time). I usually go for a 1-inch meatball.
- To cook the meatballs, place the heavy skillet back over medium-high heat and add the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil. Pan-fry the meatballs, 5 or 6 at a time, until golden brown on the outside and cooked all of the way through.
- To prepare the sauce, place a separate saucepan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Saute the diced onion until translucent, then add the garlic and paprika. Continue to saute for a further two minutes, until the aromas are strong.
- Deglaze the pan with the white wine and cook for 4-5 minutes until the wine is reduced. Add the chicken or veggie stock, as well as the tomatoes and bay leaves. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes or until it reaches a saucelike consistency. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
- To serve, dress the meatballs in the tomato sauce and garnish with fresh parsley.
Let me know what you think of my classic Spanish meatballs recipe! Will you be trying these pork and chorizo albondigas soon? I’d love to know how you make your meatballs, too.