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Pati's Mexican Table : TV Recipes

Pati Jinich

Albóndigas al chipotle
Serves 8 to 10

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
2 pounds ripe tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons white onion, chopped
1 to 2 tablespoons chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, or to taste
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, optional
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup chicken broth
2 to 3 fresh cilantro sprigs, or to taste

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meat with the eggs, minced garlic, breadcrumbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. Mix thoroughly with your hands or a spatula.

Place tomatoes in a saucepan and cover with water; simmer over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until cooked through and mushy.

In a blender, add the cooked tomatoes along with 1/4 cup of their cooking liquid, 2 garlic cloves, white onion, the sauce from the chipotle chiles in adobo and, if desired, one whole seeded chipotle chile. Purée until smooth.

Pour the oil into a large soup pot and place over medium-high heat. Once hot, pour in the puréed tomato mix. It will sizzle and jump, that is ok! Let it simmer, with the lid ajar, anywhere from 6 to 8 minutes, or until it has changed its color to a deeper red, thickened in consistency and lost its raw flavor. Add the chicken broth and salt to taste and reduce heat to medium low.

Place a small mixing bowl with water to the side of the soup pot with the simmering tomato broth. Wet your hands and start to make the meatballs, one by one. They should be anywhere from 1 to 2″. Gently place the meatballs in the simmering tomato broth.

Once you have shaped all the meatballs, add the cilantro sprigs to the pot, then simmer over medium-low heat for 25 to 30 minutes.

Serve hot with a side of Mexican avocado slices, some warm corn tortillas and, if desired, frijoles de olla or white rice and plantains.


Wow what a great dish for my family. I served it with your white rice without the plantains.

Hola Arkansaskae, I’m so glad to hear your family enjoyed the meatballs!

These were delicious and the rice was sooooo good! My family and I love your show and we love learning new Mexican dishes to try. My son requested a Mexican/Star Wars theme party for his birthday next year and my mom and I can’t wait to use your recipes!

Kristin, Thank you so much for watching and writing! Good luck with the birthday party. My youngest son, Juju, requested a Star Wars party too.

I made the meatballs in Chipotle sauce. I forgot to add the broth. But they were still great! The rice and Fried plantains are wonderful also. I never would have thought to add the pepper, but I tried it. great not too spicy just more flavor. Thank you.

I have just discovered you on my local PBS station and I love, love,love your receipes.
I am of Mexican descent and am always looking for new ways to prepare tasty Mexican food. My family’s dishes have more of a Mex-Tex style to them, delicious on their own right but I wanted something authentic that did not require hours of preparation.
I tried the meatballs in tomatoe sauce and my family loved them. It was so easy to prepare. I prepared the dish one day before serving and it was delicious.
I also tried your meithod of making white rice WITH the lime juice. I did not fry the plantains.
Again, delicious. What a marvelous taste and the rice did not stick – yea.
Thank you. Looking forward to your book in March.

Hola Maria, I’m so happy you took the time to write me! It is so great hearing about your experience sharing the meatballs and rice and plantains with your family. I hope you will find some more recipes that they all enjoy. Please, please do get my cookbook!

How long do I simmer if I use ground chicken? Thanks

Hola Sally, The ground chicken will cook in the same amount of time. Simmer for 25-30 min.

I have made this twice and the outcome has so many options. Subs, horderves, pasta with the meatballs and sauce, or then when the meatballs are gone then on pasta. I enjoy the spice, so I added more than the base recipe. I enjoy recipes that incorporate ingredients that tend to be on hand and really I just had to seek out the chiles in adobo sauce. Bringing this to a holiday party to warm everyone up here in Vermont.

like ur show, made meatballs last night, put regular bread in a food processor to chop up and add as breadcrumbs lol, first time making meatballs in chipotle sauce,, was great n tasty thanks, Pati ur the best


Just recently discovered your show.. Love your show and the recipes. I am making the meatballs this weekend, and I have a list of other recipes I am dying to try. Holly

Holly, Thank you for watching the show!! I’m so excited that you are already trying my recipes. Let me know if you have any questions.

Made these tonight – another home run, Pati! So delicious–thank you.

Hello Patti,
I just discovered your show last night on PBS. I am very glad to see authentic mexican recipes that I could show my children how to do. My mother was born in Mexico city, but we I was born and raised in Venezuela, but at an early age I learned all great dishes of mexican food. Mole de olla, Mole poblano, pozole, tostadas, and chile relleno were the all time favorites at home. Do you have a recipe for calabazines? Thanks for your show, and can’t wait to use some of your recipes. Cesar

Hola Cesar, Thank you so much for taking the time to write to me! You will have to share some Venezuelan dishes with me!! I will try to post a recipe for calabazines soon. All my very best to you.

Hola Patti,

Recently caught your show and I want to try to make the meatballs in chipolte sauce, but I need to figure out how to make a smaller serving.Richard

Hi Richard, Just use only half the amount of each ingredient in the recipe! Thank you so much for watching the show.

I have seen Albondigas made with vegetables in it more like a soup. Would you have a recipe for this?

Hi Katrina, I will try to post a recipe like this soon! Thank you for writing to me!!

Hola Pati, I made the albondigas today and the smell in my kitchen reminds me of my grandma’s cooking. This recipe took me back to my childhood in Mexico visiting with my grandparents. Love it with the rice, my mother is one that adds lime to the rice as well. I’m making the Tres Leche cake for my daughters birthday.

Great to hear Jovanna!

Hello Pati,

When does your new season start ? I am anxious !


Saw you recipe for Meatballs in Chipolte sauce. Will try it this week. Do the meatballs cook all the way through in that short amount of time? Do you recommend browning them first? Just wondering. Enjoy your show. Susan Greco

Hola Susan, I’m so happy you are going to try my recipe! Depending on how big you make the meatballs (1 to 2 inches), they take about 25 to 30 minutes to cook through. I just place them directly into the tomato broth to cook, without browning first.

I am so glad that I found your cooking show. I am an Italian married to a fantastic Mexican Man. I have cooked many Mexican dishes in my time. I was taught how to cook authentic Mexican dishes from several wonderful Mexican women. However, the food I was cooking was typical of many of the country towns in Puebla, which are a bit to hot for my husband who was born and raised in Mexico D.F.. In addition, I was very limited in what dishes I do know how to prepare. So your a blessing to me because I can now find and cook plenty of new dishes for him and the kids. I have made this dish many times, but I roasted the tomatoes, garlic and onion as I was taught. I also stuffed the meatballs with hard boiled egg.

Hola Maria, Thank you for taking some time to write me! I’m so happy you are finding dishes here to make for your husband – he sounds lovely! Please let me know if you ever have any requests.

Hola Pati!
I made your albondigas in chipotle, the rice you also made, and frijoles. I invited the family to Sunday dinner. Put out crema. aguacate, tortillas, and rabanos. Not a drop was left. Muchos Gracias!

You are making me hungry, Regina!

Made this recipe and my entire family really liked. I can’t believe how easy it was to make. Everyone loved the sauce in the dish. I served it with white rice. Thank you very much for this amazing recipe.

Hi Pati , I think that jalapeño peppers lose heat when frozen raw, what do you say?

My family lives in Mexico City, and we have come to love many of the dishes that our helper last year prepared. While I am perfecting my Spanish, it is nice to find these traditional recipes in English language!

Thank you!!

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