Special Feature


Brujo's Burning Balls of Fire
in Vermilion Sauce

By Kate Heyhoe


Be careful with this one: it gets its Halloween effect by setting tequila on fire. Despite the name, these meatballs are actually only mildly spicy, not real scorchers. Their dark color inside and out mingles well with the thick reddish-orange chile sauce.

Tip: Flaming foods takes practice—and starting with heated alcohol is very important. Try experimenting with flamed alcohol before serving this dish. There's nothing worse than making a big deal only to have the alcohol not ignite. If this happens, you can try it again with another 1/4 cup of warmed tequila, but too much will cause the flavor of the dish to turn bad. If it doesn't light, the tequila is still there and needs to be simmered until evaporated. It's OK to not flame this dish too—it tastes great as it is. Just omit the tequila and serve as is.


Mix together:
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dark ground chiles
   (such as powdered ancho or pasilla chiles)
1 egg
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (4.25 ounce) can chopped black olives.


Shape meatball mixture into bite-size balls, about 36.

Heat in a large skillet over medium-high heat:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil.

Brown meatballs on all sides until cooked through (about 15 minutes). Don't crowd the pan: cook them in 2 batches or use 2 skillets, adding more oil as needed. At this point, the meatballs may be refrigerated for up to 2 days before continuing.

Just before serving, heat the meatballs until warmed through (they can be placed in one skillet at this point). Pour over the meatballs and simmer them in:
1 (19 ounce) can red chile sauce
   or red enchilada sauce.

When the sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes, remove the meatballs and sauce to a chafing dish.

Here's the fun part: When ready to serve, heat in a small saucepan:
1/4 cup tequila or
   other 80-proof spirit such as vodka.

Advise your guests to stand back. Pour the heated tequila over the meatballs and, mustering your most dramatic energy, utter your favorite sorcerer's spell. Holding a match at arm's distance, touch the flame to the surface. Abracadabra alakazam! If your tequila was hot enough, it should ignite in a warm glow. Let guests skewer the meatballs with voodoo sticks (long bamboo skewers), or toothpicks.


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Copyright © 2000-2006, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.


This page created October 2002 and modified October 2006

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