Mini Meatballs in a Spicy Red Salsa. What is the hardest thing about preparing homemade meatballs? Waiting for them to cook in that spicy red salsa so that I can hurry up and enjoy them! Just a few years back, I too would purchase the frozen variety at the local warehouse stores. No, seriously, the hardest thing to making meatballs is just having the patience to roll all those tiny balls. Heck, have a meatball rolling party…earn your supper, lol! Silliness….We must always keep a sense of humor when working hours in the kitchen on a daily basis. I pulled this older recipe from my files. I was asked to develop a few recipes that included silver tequila a few years back, and this was one of my favorites! The tequila spiked spicy shrimp won over the meatballs, but it’s right up there in flavor! The version below does not include the silver tequila. All you have to do is add aboout, 1/8 to 1/4 cup of silver tequila to the simmering salsa. This is a great recipe to keep on hand for your next tailgate session or potluck dinner.
1 pound ground chuck
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 jalapenos, minced
1/2 cup cotija cheese, grated, plus more for garnish
1/3 cup crushed (taco flavored) corn tortilla chips or seasoned bread crumbs
4 Roma tomatoes
1 small white onion, diced
*1 poblano pepper, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 serrano peppers
4 ounces tomato paste
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon chile ancho powder
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
Salt to taste
1. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the meatballs, stir well to combine. Cover and let it set in the refrigerator while you make the sauce.
2. Rough chop the tomatoes and tomatillos and transfer to a blender. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and add 1/4 cup of water. Blend until smooth, set aside.
3. In a large sauce pan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat, add the onions and poblano and cook for 5 minutes, add the garlic, cumin seeds, serrano, and cook for 1 more minute. Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomato mixture from the blender and all remaining ingredients. Stir well to combine, taste for salt. Cover and lower heat.
4. While sauce is cooking, make your meatballs. Remove the meatball mixture from the refrigerator. This recipe will make 30 small meatballs. I like to roll them out first and let them come to room temperature for a few minutes.
5. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of oil to medium heat. When it’s good and hot, add the meatballs and cook for a few minutes on each side to brown. As they cook, transfer them to the other pan with the simmering sauce. Cook on low for 20 minutes, taste for salt before serving. Garnish with more cotija cheese and cilantro, serve with a loaf of crusty bread or slider rolls. Yields 6 to 8 servings.