Mini Mexican Meatballs
5 - 6 lb ground beef makes about 200 mini meatballs which fit in 6 quart slow cooker together with sauce. I double the quantity of sauce ingredients for 5-6 lb beef.
2 lbs beef makes about 80 small or 40 medium meatballs, served with chunks of bread for dipping. The sauce is really good.
Chipotle in Adobo SauceChipotle is a dried jalapeno chile that has a slightly sweet, smoky flavor and is available canned in adobo sauce. Goya brand has a 7 oz can that used to be less than $1. Now it's $1.69 for the same size can. Adobo sauce is a spicy dark-red Mexican paste made from ground chiles, herbs and vinegar. Adobo sauce is rather potent, and the level of spiciness can be changed according to quantity of chipotle pepper and adobo sauce used. To reduce their "heat" remove the veins and seeds from the chiles but be careful not to touch your nose, eyes or mouth after touching the chiles.
The amount in this recipe just starts my lips tingling without burning or making my nose run. I don't like food that is hot just for the sake of it without being able to savor the flavor. Increase the heat to your own preference. I puree the entire can and freeze puree in one tablespoon quantities in an ice cube tray. Remove from tray and bag for freezer storage. Alternatively, spread puree flat in freezer Ziploc bag and freeze.
Method1. Cook onion and garlic in oil in microwave until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Add bread soaked in water and break up bread with fork. You can make breadcrumbs from bread if you want.
2. Add cumin, salt and pepper. Mix well.
3. Add ground beef and egg, mix well.
4. Heat 12 inch non stick skillet on stove over medium heat. Add scoops of meatballs to totally fill the pan and place meatballs as close together as possible. I use pampered chef one tablespoon scoop for mini meatballs and 2 tablespoon scoop for larger size. Put pan into preheated 350° oven for about 15 minutes until meatballs are browned on outside.
You might have to start the meatballs in 2 pans. They shrink on baking and can then be returned to one pan for the sauce to be added and then cooked. I usually cook meatballs with sauce in slow cooker after baking meatballs in oven.
5. Add sauce ingredients, bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, cover and cook for about ½ - 1 hour until ready. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add additional pureed chipotles if you like really spicy. This amount gives just a nice kick without making your nose run and lips tingle.
NOTE: This quantity of pureed chipotles gives a nice sweet spicy taste that is great for meatballs served on their own, for most people. If guests are used to 5 alarm chilis, then add more pureed chipotles. Cook the meatballs in sauce and then add more chipotles to taste. Also if you intend serving meatballs with rice and beans, you can also make sauce hotter since heat is not so noticeable when the meatballs are served with rice.
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Oonagh Williams, proprietor of Royal Temptations, has a Culinary Arts degree, offers Catering services, teaches a variety of classes in International Cooking, makes regular appearances on WMUR ABC Channel 9's Cooks' Corner and has her own series on Merrimack TV. You can contact Oonagh at 603-424-6412.