Beef

ZACATECAS: Albóndigas en Chipotle

I recently came across a cookbook that collected recipes from home cooks around the state of Zacatecas, a state right in the center of Mexico. The book, La Cocina Familiar en el Estado de Zacatecas, has a delicious variety of foods including this recipe from Ana Ma. Sánchez de Alatorre for Albóndigas en chipotle. There are many chipotle meatball recipes, but this one is a little unique.  It add a little surprise in the middle and invites squash and carrots to the party!

While the recipe was not very specific, I tried to make it work for me here in Wisconsin, 1,800 miles northeast of Zacatecas. And they were delicious! I even made meatball sandwiches with the leftovers.  They would also make a great filling for enchiladas!

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ZACATECAS: Albóndigas en Chipotle (Chipotle Meatballs)

½ bolillo, or 2 slices of white bread, torn to small pieces

½ cup milk

1 ¼ pounds ground beef

1 egg

1 can (4.25 ounces) jamón endiablado (deviled ham spread)

1 tablespoon mint leaves, chopped

2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut into 12 pieces

½ medium white onion, chopped

3 zucchini squash, cut into small strips

3 carrots, cut into small strips

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

1-2 chipotle chiles en adobo

1 tablespoon adobo from the chipotle chiles (the sauce)

1 teaspoon oregano, preferably Mexican

1 – 1 ½ cups chicken or beef broth or water

1 – 2 tablespoons grape seed or canola oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a small bowl, place the bread with the milk and let it soak for 15 – 20 minutes. Drain the bread before using.

In a large bowl, place the ground beef and mix in the egg, soaked bread, jamón endiablado (deviled ham), mint, salt and pepper. Form 12 meatballs, placing a piece of the hard-boiled egg in the middle and set them aside.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to a large oven-safe pan and bring to medium heat.

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Place the meatballs in the same pan and cook until lightly browned on all sides. Add more oil if necessary. Set the meatballs aside.

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Add the chopped onion to the pan and cook until just translucent. Add the zucchini and carrots strips. Cook over medium heat for about 8 – 10 minutes.

Place the garlic, diced tomatoes, chipotle chiles, adobo sauce and oregano in a blender or food processor. Blend well, but you can keep it a little chunky if that is what you like. Add the sauce to the vegetables in the pan. Saute the sauce for 5 minutes and add a cup of the broth or water. Bring to a simmer and add the meatballs.

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Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for about 15 – 20 minutes until the sauce gets nice and thick. Remove from the oven and let them rest 5 – 10 minutes.

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Serve and garnish with more mint leaves.

NOTE:  I could not find jamón endiablado, so I used Deviled Ham Spread instead.

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