Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Meatballs of Madrid Tapas Bars

The Meatballs of Madrid Tapas Bars
Spanish Appetizers Ingredients
  • 2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 pound ground pork (not too lean) or veal
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 cup grated onion, plus 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons coarse salt (kosher or sea), plus more for the sauce
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 to 3 gratings of fresh nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • I medium-size carrot, diced
  • 3/4 teaspoon sweet (not smoked) paprika
  • 4 to 5 canned peeled tomatoes, drained and chopped, plus 1/4 cup of their juice
  • 3 tablespoons brandy
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1-1/4 cups chicken stock or broth, or more if needed
  • all-purpose flour, for dusting the meatballs
Spanish Appetizers Instructions

Place the bread and milk in a small bowl and let soak for 5 minutes. Drain, squeeze out the excess liquid, and finely crumble the bread.
Place the crumbled bread and the pork, beef, grated onion, eggs, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and parsley in a large bowl, Gently knead the meatball mixture with your hands just until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined; do not overknead. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate while you make the sauce, about 40 minutes.
While the meatball mixture is chilling, make the sauce: Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and carrot and cook until the vegetables are softened and very lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Add the paprika and stir for a few seconds. Add the tomatoes and their juice and the brandy, increase the heat to high, and cook until the liquid is reduced slightly, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the wine and chicken stock, partially cover the pot, and cook until the vegetables are very tender, 30 to 40 minutes. (The sauce can be prepared 1 day ahead up to this point.) Using a slotted spoon, remove about 1 cup of the solids from the sauce and transfer to a blender along with about 1 cup of the liquid. Puree the mixture in pulses until medium-fine. Stir the pureed mixture back into the sauce and add a little more chicken stock if it seem too thick. Keep the sauce warm while you finish making the meatballs.
Spread a thin layer of flour on a large plate. Wet your hands, then break off a piece of the meatball mixture and shape it into a ball the size of a large walnut (about 1¼ inches in diameter). Roll the meatball in the flour, shaking off the excess, then gently toss it between cupped hands to give it shape. Repeat with the remaining meatball mixture, placing the floured meatballs on a small baking sheet.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium-high
heat. Add half of the meatballs and brown all over, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the browned meatballs to a bowl. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet and cook the remaining meatballs in the same fashion.
Add about ½ cup water to the skillet and cook for about 1 minute, scraping the bottom of the pan to dislodge the brown bits. Stir this liquid into the sauce. Gently stir the browned meatballs and any accumulated juices into the sauce and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and cook until the meatballs are completely cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the meatballs from the heat and let cool for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley just before serving.
Serves 8 as a tapa, 4 as a main course over rice or fried potatoes

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