Spicy Meatballs or the Albondigas

In Ladino or Latino, a fifteenth-century Spanish dialect spoken by Sephardic Jews, Albondigas are small round meatballs spiced with lots of black pepper. Here they are fried and baked together with mashed roasted eggplant puree. But there are uncountable variations with the recipe, the way how it’s served on the table and of course it’s being used in the soup. For those who love spicy, they love spicy soup as well.


For the meatballs:

  • 1 lb (500 g) ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salt and a good amount of freshly ground
  • black pepper
  • Flour for dredging (optional)
  • ¼ cup (90 ml) corn oil

For the eggplant puree:

  • 3 medium eggplants (aubergines)
  • Sugar to taste (optional)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Ground almonds (optional)

Albondigas with chips
Albondigas with chips
  1. To prepare the meatballs, preheat the oven to 400’F (200 Celsius, gas mark 6).
  2. Combine the meat, onion, bread crumbs, egg, salt, and lots of freshly ground pepper.
  3. Mix well and form into plum-sized balls.
  4. For a crisper finish, the meatballs can be rolled in flour before frying.
  5. Heat the oil in a shallow frying pan and fry the meatballs on all sides until well browned.
  6. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl.
  7. Reserve pan with drippings.
  8. To prepare the puree, grill or roast the eggplants (aubergines) over an open flame or under the broiler (grill) until soft.
  9. When they are cool enough to handle, peel and chop.
  10. Add sugar if desired .
  11. In the remaining oil in the pan in which the meatballs were cooked, stir the mashed eggplant over medium heat.
  12. Scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon to keep it from sticking.
  13. Add the garlic, salt, and lots of freshly ground black pepper (spicy, remember?).
  14. Cook for another minute and remove from the heat.
  15. To assemble, transfer the eggplant to a shallow ovenproof dish and lay the meatballs on top.
  16. Press them down into the eggplant mixture, and spread on top whatever juice remains in the bowl from the meatballs.
  17. Sprinkle on a few ground almonds if desired.
  18. Bake for approximately 30 minutes.
  19. Serve warm or at room temperature, with fresh bread.
Albondigas soup
Albondigas soup
Albondigas soup
Albondigas soup

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