Albondigas with Spicy Pepper Sauce

by Curtis Stone 7:46 AM, December 18, 2017

Aired December 19, 2017

Serves 15 to 20 servings (Makes 64 bite-size meatballs)

6 (5 ounces) Fresno chiles, stemmed
5 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for frying
1/2 cup finely grated onion
1 large egg
1 tablespoon paprika (not smoked paprika)
1 teaspoon each black pepper and garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon each cayenne pepper and ground cumin
2 pounds freshly ground pork or 80% lean ground lamb
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
Fresh thyme leaves, for garnish


In blender, combine chiles, garlic, vinegar and 2 teaspoons salt. Purée until smooth then blend in 1/4 cup oil.

In a large bowl, combine onion, egg, paprika, remaining 2 teaspoons salt, black pepper, garlic powder, cayenne, and cumin. Mix in breadcrumbs and pork or lamb. Using about 1 tablespoon meat mixture for each, form 60 balls.

Add enough oil to cover bottom of a large frypan and heat over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry meatballs for about 8 minutes, turning as needed, or until golden brown and just cooked through. Wipe out pan and heat fresh oil to cook each batch.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer meatballs to bowl and immediately toss with some sauce to coat. Transfer to a platter, sprinkle with thyme leaves and serve with toothpicks and more sauce.

Note: When tossing these while hot out of the pan, the sauce forms a nice glaze. The sauce can also be spooned onto a platter then topped with the meatballs and sprinkled with thyme.