Catalan food is at once rustic and refined. This Catalonian meatballs recipe is the perfect example of that; it is a dish you would expect to find at an out-of-the-way country inn or a Michelin-star restaurant. Try serving it over hot rice or just-cooked couscous to soak up the delicious, red sauce.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1/2-lb ground pork
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 strips bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup pitted green olives
- 2 ounces cured ham, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/16 teaspoon (pinch) ground cayenne
- 3 cups hot, cooked rice (optional)
- 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh parsley
Gently mix the ground beef and pork together with the garlic, egg, salt, pepper, and breadcrumbs. Form 1-inch meatballs with the mixture and set them aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and sauté the chopped bacon in the oil until it turns crisp. Transfer the cooked bacon to a cloth-lined plate to drain. Add the meatballs, in batches, and sauté them until they turn brown. Transfer the browned meatballs to a Dutch oven.
Add the chopped onions to the skillet and sauté them for 5 minutes, until they turn soft and light brown. Sprinkle the flour over the onions, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour the water over the onions and the flour and stir until the mixture is smooth. Add the reserved bacon, olives, ham, tomato paste, cinnamon, and ground cayenne to the sauce.
Pour the sauce over the meatballs in the Dutch oven. Cover with the lid and cook the mixture over low heat for 30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through and the juices run clear. Serve the meatballs and pan sauce over rice, sprinkled with parsley.
This Catalonian meatballs recipe make 6 servings.