Albondigas – Mexican Meatballs – in Chipotle Sauce

We blog about this recipe here.

Albondigas - Mexican Meatballs - in Chipotle Sauce

We adapted this from the Tacolicious Cookbook by our daughter Sara Deseran.  If you’re in San Francisco, try it at one of the Tacolicious restaurants.


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 diced tomato (or 1 canned tomato, diced)
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 c long grain rice, uncooked and rinsed
  • 1/4 c loosely packed chopped mint leaves
  • 1/4 c loosely packed chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 T flour
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1/2 c finely crumbled queso fresco, plus extra for garnish
  • 2 tsp Diamond kosher salt

Tomato-chipotle sauce:

  • 4 c canned, diced tomatoes
  • 1-4 T sauce from canned chipotles in adobo sauce (start with 1 T and add to taste)
  • 2 T canola oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 T minced garlic, about 4 cloves
  • 3 c chicken broth
  • 2 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 tsp  ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp Diamond kosher salt or to taste
  • flour or corn tortillas to serve alongside

To make the meatballs, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine and gently mix  all of the ingredients for the meatballs. Wet your hands to alleviate sticking and roll the meat around in your palms to form evenly sized meatballs, each the size of a golfball on steroids, a generous ¼ cup per meatball.

Place the meatballs on two oiled baking sheets with a lip, and place them in the oven. Roast for 15 minutes, or until they are about three-quarters of the way cooked through as they’ll continue to cook in the sauce. Remove from the oven

Place the tomatoes and the chipotles in a blender and puree until smooth. To make the sauce, heat the oil over medium-low heat in a large sauce pot. Sauté the onion and garlic until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato-chipotle mixture to the pot and cook for 5 minutes more to marry the flavors. Add the chicken stock, Worcestershire, brown sugar, cumin, oregano, pepper and salt to the pot and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust with salt as necessary. Continue with the recipe or refrigerate the sauce for up to a day ahead, or  until ready to use.

Add the partially cooked meatballs to the sauce and simmer, uncovered, for about 40 minutes, gently stirring periodically so they all have a chance to cook in the sauce. Make sure that the rice in the meatballs is fully cooked before serving. Garnish with a sprinkle of queso fresco.  Serve with flour or corn tortillas to scoop up the yummy sauce.

Recipe brought to you by and Andy and Ann.

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