the appetizer:

The New Southern-Latino Table, Recipes That Bring Together the Bold and Beloved Flavors of Latin America and the American South by Sandra A. Gutierrez includes recipes like Green Mango Salad with Pepita and Benne-Dusted Shrimp; Albóndigas with Sweet Fire-Roasted Tomato Chutney; and Rolled Ham Salad Cake (Pionono).

Cookbook Profile

with Sweet Fire-Roasted Tomato Chutney

Serves 4 to 6

Albóndigas with Sweet Fire-Roasted Tomato Chutney


Mexican sausage imparts accents of garlic, paprika, and oregano to these meatballs that simmer in sweet tomato relish spiked with spices and chiles. Each bite is filled with smoky, sweet, and spicy comfort. Throughout Latin America, albóndigas, or meatballs, are prepared in myriad ways. In Mexico they're bathed in chipotle sauce, and in South America they're laced with olives and raisins. Notice here the blending of cultures and taste a bit of the Arab influence in Latin cuisine. These albóndigas are quick to assemble and inexpensive to prepare, ideal for weekday meals when time is of the essence. Canned organic, fire-roasted tomatoes are available in most grocery stores. The chutney is a cinch to make: just stir and simmer. Cook the albóndigas ahead of time and freeze them; for a quick supper, simply heat them in the succulent sauce and serve them over steamed rice. To make this dish suitable for children, cut back on the chipotles.

For the Chutney

For the Albóndigas

In a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, combine the tomatoes, onions, brown sugar, vinegar, cinnamon, bay leaf, chipotle, adobo, garlic, salt, allspice, cumin, and 1/4 cup of water. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 40-45 minutes, or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and discard the cinnamon and bay leaf; set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, combine the chuck, chorizo, onions, cilantro, jalapeño, garlic, masa harina, salt, pepper, and egg; mix until well blended. Shape the mixture into 16 meatballs (about 4 tablespoons each). In a large skillet with high sides, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning, until all sides are nicely browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set on a plate; discard all but 2 teaspoons of the oil left in the pan. Return the meatballs to the pan and cover with chutney. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer gently for 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through.

Note: The cooking time for the chutney will vary depending on how juicy the tomatoes are. Be sure to cook the chutney until the juices have reduced; continue cooking until it's thick enough to coat the meatballs. Alone, this chutney makes a delicious accoutrement for biscuits or crackers and cheese. If you don't have time to make meatballs, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a jelly roll or baking pan with cooking spray. Shape the beef mixture into an oval (about 9 inches long by 4 inches wide and 2 inches high) and bake until the surface of the loaf is browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 165 degrees, about 50-55 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes; serve sliced with chutney on the side.

Cook's Tip: The flavor of rendered fat from beef, pork, and chicken is important in Latin American cuisines, but if you're concerned about the fat content of recipes, you can drain more of the fat.


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This page created January 2012