The word albondigas, Spanish for meatballs, comes from the Arabic word al-bunduq, meaning hazelnut, the size and shape of the small, round balls. The Arabs brought a version of this dish to Spain, and it eventually became popular in kitchens in Mexico and Latin America. Mint, often found in Mexican versions, adds an intriguing light element and suggests the origin of the meatballs, which swim in a spicy broth.
|1||pound ground pork|
|1||clove garlic, finely chopped|
|¼||teaspoon sweet smoked paprika|
|Black pepper, to taste|
|Few sprigs fresh mint, leaves chopped|
|½||cup panko or other white|
1. In a bowl, combine the pork, garlic, oregano, paprika, salt, pepper, mint, panko or breadcrumbs, and egg. Mix until well combined.
2. With wet hands, form 28 walnut-size balls.
|6||cups chicken stock|
|½||cup tomato puree|
|1||teaspoon ancho chile powder|
|Salt and black pepper, to taste|
|Juice of 1 lime|
|2||ounces fresh spinach, tough stems removed|
|½||cup frozen peas, rinsed with cold water|
|Extra fresh mint, leaves chopped (for garnish)|
|1||cup tortilla chips,|
broken into bite-size pieces (for garnish)
1. In a soup pot over medium heat, bring the stock, tomato puree, chile powder, salt, black pepper, and lime juice to a boil.
2. Add the meatballs and carrots, and return the soup to a simmer. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are no longer pink inside.
3. Stir in the spinach and peas and cook 1 minute more. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with chopped mint and tortilla chips.
Sally Pasley Vargas