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Prep Time 10 minutes - Total Time 45 minutes - Makes around 16 meatballs

Meatballs or albóndigas as they are called in Spain, are a thing of beauty done right. They should be soft and juicy not hard and dry. Mixed with pasta, in a sub roll or just with some bread, anyway is good.

And if you have never tried lamb meatballs now is your chance. Minced lamb mixed with manchego cheese, garlic, paprika, cloves and red wine in a tomato sauce, heavenly!

Meatball Ingredients

  • 500g of minced lamb.

  • 50g of manchego cheese, grated.

  • 2 garlic cloves, grated.

  • 1 tsp of smoked sweet paprika.

  • 1 small pinch of ground cloves.

  • 1 small handful of fresh parsley, chopped.

  • 1 egg.

  • 1 slice of white bread, crust removed.

  • 40mls of red wine.

  • Chilli flakes (optional).

Sauce Ingredients

  • 400g of chopped tomatoes.

  • 1 small onion, finely diced.

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced.

  • 1 small pinch of brown sugar.

  • 70mls of red wine.


  • Chopped fresh parsley.

  • Grated manchego cheese.

  • Extra-virgin olive oil.


  1. Into a large bowl add all the meatball ingredients, season and mix together. Form into individual balls just slightly smaller than a golf ball, you should get around 16. I find it easier to mould if you wet your hands a little.

  2. Place a large non-stick pan over a medium to high and allow that to heat up for a minute or so. Pour in a drizzle of olive oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Then add the meatballs, give the pan a little shake to prevent them from sticking.

  3. Cook on each side for around 3 minutes or till nicely browned, then place to one side. At this stage you are not looking to cook them all the way through, you just want to build a nice crust.

  4. You are going to make the sauce in the same pan that you fried the meatballs in. Turn the heat down to low and add the onions and garlic with a pinch of salt. There should be enough fat in the pan to cook the onions if not just add a small drizzle of oil.

  5. Once the onions and garlic are nice and soft turn up the heat to high and pour in the red wine. Allow the wine to reduce, should only take a couple of minutes. Once it has, turn the heat down to low and add the tin tomatoes, brown sugar and mix.

  6. Simmer for a couple of minutes before adding the meatballs to the sauce. If you like before returning the meatballs you can use a handheld stick blender to whizz the sauce till smooth, I did! Simmer the meatballs in the sauce for 15 minutes or till cooked through.

  7. To finish the dish garnish with fresh chopped parsley, some grated manchego cheese and a nice drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, enjoy!


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