Spanish Style Tapas Meatballs


Juicy Spanish style Albondigas Meatballs make the perfect tapas. I’ve had these countless times in the crowded tapas bars of Spain and they always taste just as good. These are best reheated as the sauce begins to intensify in flavour as it sits and marinades for a while.  So, this is a convenient tapas if you have friends coming over as everything can be done in advance. for serving, all you need is a fresh baguette to scrape the succulent tomato juices of the plate.

The deep red colour erodes from the smoked paprika and chorizo that also adds a numerous amount of Spanish style flavours. I’ve added the chorizo and chili as extra components (non traditional to the recipe) but I feel it adds a good spicy kick to the mixture.

Alternatively, you can serve these as a main course with pasta.

Meatball Ingredients

  • 700 g Lean Ground Beef (or a mixture of pork and beef)
  • Butter
  • 2 Eggs
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Dried Parsley
  • 1 whole Chili
  • 1 Onion
  • Handful of Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 Garlic Gloves
  • Smoked Paprika Spice
  • Salt/ Black Pepper
  • Sour cream or Water (optional)

Tomato Sauce Ingredients

  • Butter
  • 1 Large Carrot
  • 1 Celery
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 5 Tomatoes
  • Generous pinch of Saffron
  • Fresh thyme / Rosemary/ Parsley & Basil
  • Bay Leaves
  • Tomato Puree
  • Salt / Black Pepper
  • 1 dl Meat or Chicken stock
  • 1 dl Red wine
  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • Optional: Small handful of Chorizo Sausage



In a large bowl: crack 2 eggs, add the lean ground beef (or mixture of pork/beef), breadcrumbs, finely chopped chili/onion and a handful of parmesan. Grate in a couple of garlic cloves. Mix this well and season with salt, pepper, parsley and smoked paprika. The mixture should be moist but not too moist so it falls apart. If the texture is too dry, add a bit of sour cream. Roll the meatballs on a plate and prepare the tomato sauce.

In a sauce pan, add a generous amount of butter and finely chopped carrots, onion, garlic, celery and tomatoes and chorizo. Grate in the garlic cloves. Let this simmer (lid on) for about 10 minutes on low heat and add in fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary and basil. Add a couple of bay leaves, saffron, the sugar and thick tomato puree. Add the stock and wine and let the sauce thicken and simmer for about 30 minutes. Puree the mixture so it becomes a bit smoother and leave it on low heat as you begin preparing the meatballs.


Preheat the oven to 180 C. Begin frying the meatballs in a saucepan (medium heat) with some butter. Add salt and pepper. Fry on all sides so they become golden brown and place on an oiled oven dish.  Pour the tomato sauce on top and the buttery juices of the pan and place into oven. After 7 minutes drop the heat to 150 and let it cook for about 20 minutes.

Serve with fresh herbs, such as parsley and thyme and ground black pepper. Indulge the juices with a slice of fresh rustic bread.


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