Albóndigas Variation (Meatballs: Eat some now, freeze some for later)

28 Jun

You would think that I came from hunger.

I stockpile like a squirrel in autumn. (And like squirrels, I sometimes forget where the hell I stockpiled my treasures, but that is another matter for a day when we are discussing organization. Today, we are not). I don’t feel safe unless there are plenty of foodstuffs laid by, whether for unexpected guests, an emergency supper,  the coming of The Apocalypse, or the nuclear winter. I’m a Cold War baby and that’s how I roll.

Sauté onion and garlic in a saucepan, drop in frozen meatballs and a tin of crushed tomatoes with your preferred herbs and spices and in 20 minutes of lively simmer – gorgeous sauce for spaghetti and meatballs!

There’s nothing I like more than a pantry full of stuff with which to make meals, except a freezer full of stuff that is already made (by me, of course, because the supermarket has freezers full of simulated-food garbage I won’t pay for, cause it’s  simulated food garbage I won’t eat).

To freeze, place cooled meatballs in a freezer bag. Lay the bag flat on a plate and stick in freezer so the meatballs don’t freeze stuck together. When completely frozen through, remove plate, shake the bag to unstick meatballs, squeeze air out, and leave bag in freezer. Use within three months (or before freezer burn sets in!)

Thus, this meatball recipe – a variation on my dad’s excellent meatballs. We call them albóndigas and like to make them neutrally flavored for freezing, so that whatever the occasion you can drop them in an Italian-style tomato sauce, serve them with buttered noodles, make a meatball sandwich, stick them with toothpicks and call them hors d’oeuvres, do whatever, adding your favorite seasonings later.

Cheese, please!

Use some hot off the stove, and freeze the rest. You never know when they will save your life….

Cloudy, with a chance of meatballs!

Albóndigas (Variation on Pedro’s Albóndigas)

5 cloves garlic, peeled

1 generous Cup onion, chopped

2 Tbs olive oil

1 Cup mixed fresh herbs (or 4 Tbs dry), such as basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram, parsley

2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning

1 tsp salt

3 lbs ground beef (you can substitute 1lb of pork for 1lb of beef)

2 whole eggs (optional)

1 cup breadcrumbs (plain, or seasoned with similar herbs to those you chose above)

Whir garlic, onions, olive oil and parsley in a blender or food processor until minced fine. Add herbs, Old Bay, and salt and pulse a few times until it forms a paste.

In a large bowl place meat, seasoning paste, optional eggs, roasted red pepper, and bread crumbs. Mix well so that breadcrumbs are evenly distributed. Using your hands, roll into balls about 1.5 inches across. You can dip your hands in water to keep from sticking.

Heat 2 Tbs oil in heavy skillet at medium heat until the oil flows like water and a meatball dipped in it sizzles softly. Fry several at a time (use tongs to turn quickly) browning on all sides, then lower to medium low and cook for about six minutes, shaking the pan and turning meatballs occasionally. When they are cooked through, cool on paper towels. Can be frozen for three months in an airtight container.


16 Responses to “Albóndigas Variation (Meatballs: Eat some now, freeze some for later)”

  1. Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy February 1, 2013 at 9:56 pm #

    Reblogged this on Hot, Cheap & Easy and commented:

    Note To Readers: OLD BAY!!!!!! In honor of the Baltimore Ravens making the Super Bowl I am reblogging some recipes with Old Bay Seasoning…straight outta Maryland!

  2. Tammy June 30, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

    Every time I give up meat entirely, someone waives a succulent meatball in my face. It’s a weakness for sure.

    • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy July 1, 2012 at 7:39 pm #

      Ah…if it is any consolation, I only use organic meats, usually from a nearby farm/source. Thanks for visiting!

  3. ceciliag June 30, 2012 at 5:48 am #

    I often make extra but meatballs have a habit of being eaten before they get to the freezer bag. These look like they would be a great hit! Love the idea of making them neutral before freezing too! c

    • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy June 30, 2012 at 9:21 am #

      Our little family consumes less at one go, I suppose. And of course, I am making three pounds of them at a time….Thanks for the visit!

  4. Conor Bofin June 29, 2012 at 9:37 am #

    I cooked some Spanish meatballs recently. I thought I did far too many. the hungry hoard proved me wrong. The freezer did not get a look in. I will post about it later.

  5. Mad Dog June 29, 2012 at 6:48 am #

    My parents grew up during WW2 – we always had cupboards and freezers full of food and it seems to have stayed with me – I don’t like running out. Freezer bags with individual portions of home made pasta sauce, chill and curry make for amazingly good fast or emergency food. Those meatballs sound good and I love the freezer technique 😉

    • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy June 29, 2012 at 7:23 am #

      Ah yes….the wartime mentality….always have to have sugar, flour, butter and cans and cans of stuff laid by! I guess it also was the time around which all these food storing techniques became something you could buy rather than something you had to process yourself…interesting!

  6. twbarritt June 29, 2012 at 5:02 am #

    Someday there will be a show about us “food hoarders” – but when you’re hoarding and then eating something this tasty, it’s worth it!

  7. Karen June 29, 2012 at 3:16 am #

    I’m like you Natalia, my freeze and pantry are always stocked full. Your meatballs are nicely seasoned and perfect for future meals.

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