September 23, 2012 11:00 AM
Meatballs in Chipotle Sauce
POSTED IN: TV Show Recipes , Pati's Mexican Table
TAGS: albondigas , chile , chipotle , dinner , EP206 , food , Jinich , meat , meatballs , Mexican , Pati , Patricia , pepper
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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 avocado slices avocado, 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.

arkansaskae | October 7, 2012 3:53 PM

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

Pati Jinich replied to comment from arkansaskae | October 17, 2012 12:21 PM

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 | October 19, 2012 6:53 PM

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.

Mary Helen | November 3, 2012 11:56 AM

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.

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Kristin | November 5, 2012 4:53 PM


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.

maria | November 6, 2012 5:21 PM

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

Sally | November 10, 2012 5:53 PM

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!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from maria | November 15, 2012 3:56 PM

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

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Sally | November 29, 2012 1:25 PM

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.

Mark | December 18, 2012 9:44 PM

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

ivan gomez | December 19, 2012 2:51 PM