22 October 2013

Albondigas with a twist

For the many Sephardim that read this blog (and there are so many of you I can hardly count you all on my fingers), you'll be familiar with the traditional version of albondigas that we've been eating (and loving!) since we were all tiny. They're red, it's all about the tomato. Well tonight I went off the beaten path, well onto the somewhat beaten path of Mexican flavours that I've embraced and turned the blessed albondiga of my youth on its ear! Tonight's were green, that's verde, yes!

I had some tomatillos sitting in the fridge that I had picked up at a farmers' market a while ago. I needed to use them. I was not willing to let those beauties go to waste but I needed something one step up from salsa verde, because that does not a dinner make. So a little searching and a little cobbling together and here's what I came up with.

Albondigas verde
  • 1-2 pounds of ground beef
  • 10 or so tomatillos
  • 2 poblano peppers or a couple of jalapenos
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 big white onion (1/2 cut into chunks, 1/4 chopped super finely)
  • 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbsp of uncooked rice
  • few tablespoons of oil
  • salt 
  • 1 or 2 eggs
Clean and remove the husks from the tomatillos and put them in a pot of water to boil for about 15 min until they turn a little yellowish. If using jalepenos, boil with the tomatillos and remove seeds etc once cooked.. Once ready, drain the water from the pot.

Roast the poblano peppers (either under the broiler or over the flame of a gas stove) until they are fairly charred. Put in a plastic bag and let sweat for about 10 minutes so the skin will be easy to get off. Clean the skin off, remove the seeds and rinse the pepper to get all the black bits and seeds off.  

Chuck the cooked tomatillos, poblano peppers/jalapenos, chunks of onions, cilantro, garlic, and about a cup of water into a blender and blend until it is a very nice green colour.

To make the meatballs, mix the eggs, ground beef, finely chopped onion, rice and a couple of pinches of salt into a bowl and then form into walnut sized balls. Not too tiny but not big either.

In a pot large enough to fit the balls essentially in one layer, add the oil and let it get hot. Pour the tomatillo mixture in (and enjoy the sizzle). Mix and let it come to the boil. You should add a bit of water to thin it out now (I used the blender and got all the rest of the tomatillo mixture out with the water). 

Once the sauce comes back to the boil, add the balls, turn down the heat, and let it simmer partially covered for 30 minutes. Add salt etc as required to taste.

I served this over pink rice and a little Mexican style salad with chopped onion, a few of the last stragglers from my tomato crop, chopped lettuce, and some chunks of avocado dressed simply wiht some lime juice, olive oil and a bit of salt.  They don't look all that fantastic in pictures but we're about flavour here, not looks!

20 October 2013

Oh tomato, how I love you

Pretty much the end of the summer vines. I will miss my daily tomato meal. Nothing is more satisfying and simpler than the thinly sliced tomato layered with salt, pepper, and olive oil on a piece of super crunchy toast.

Goodbye summer ....


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