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Spanish minted meatballs

Although I love meatballs, I dont cook them often enough, I have always wondered why. The first recipe that I posted on this blog was for Spiced Lamb Meatballs "Bar Oso", and it has been a long gap. Here is another fantastic recipe.

This recipe has bold and deep flavors of concentrated tomatoes scented with mint. The contrast is quite spectacular and I must say quite addictive. I served this dish with toast points, mainly so we could sop up the sauce. The perfect bite-sized meatballs are succulent and soft, and quite hard to resist.

This is one of my favorite cookbook for tapas and other Spanish foods. I have cooked quite a few recipes from this very hefty cookbook, and all of them, like this one are superb. The recipes are true to their core, full of flavor and absolutely delicious. Combined with the fact that I absolutely love Spanish, particularly Catalan, cuisine, this is a cookbook that I go to a lot. I highly recommend this cookbook for those who would like to have great Spanish cuisine on their tables.

For more recipes from this cookbook click here.

Photo credit Nisha Bilgrami

2 slices white bread, crust removed and soaked in 1/4 cup milk

1 1/2 lb ground meat, mutton, lamb, or a mix of lamb and beef

6 tablespoons mint, minced

4 garlic cloves, finely diced and made into a paste with the side of your knofe

Salt, to taste

1 teaspoon pepper

1 egg, whisked

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons oil

1 large onion, finely diced

3 cups tomatoes, finely diced

1/4 cup sherry or Madeira wine

1 cup tomato juice

4 tablespoons mint, finely minced + to garnish

White toast points

Squeeze the milk out of the bread and add to a bowl with the meat, mint, garlic, salt, pepper, and egg. Mix well with your hands making sure the spices and herbs are well distributed. Donot overwork the mix, the secret to soft and juicy meatballs. Take a teaspoon of the mix and make into a small patty and fry on a pan. Taste and adjust salt and mint if needed.

Make small meatballs, about the size of golf balls. Add the oil to a wide frying pan and fry the meatballs till they are browned all over. You can shake the pan the roll the meatballs and turn them or use a spatula. You may want to fry the meatballs in 2-3 batches so that you are over-crowding the pan, the meatballs with begin to stew and not fry. Remove the batches when done and set aside, if the centers are still raw, do not worry, the meatballs are cooked later again.

Make the sauce by heating the oil in an pot, large enough to contain all the meatballs later. Fry till the onions are lightly golden. Add the tomatoes, the wine and the tomato juice, and simmer for 25 minutes till you have a thick sauce and the tomatoes have broken down completely. Cool and purée the mix in a small blender till smooth.

Add the puréed tomatoes to the pot and bring to a simmer. Add the meatballs and mint and simmer for 25 minutes. If the sauce gets dry top up with some tomato juice. The final sauce should be very thick and cling to the meatballs heavily, and the oil should float to the surface.

Serve hot garnished with mint and with toast points for the sauce.

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