Thursday, April 19, 2012

Albondigas de Pollo con Hierbabuena Entomatadas (Mint Chicken Meatballs in Tomato)

Meatballs made with rice and mint are popular in Mexican cuisine (they can be made with pork, beef, chicken, turkey whatever meat of your choice or combination) often served in a soup with a variety of vegetables (if you would like to see this check my mother's recipe for "Caldo de Albondigas") . However they can also be cooked in a spicy chipotle sauce, or how I present it here in a very simple light tomato based sauce that can be made spicy, mild, or with no heat at all.

 My mother made these meatballs yesterdays using ground chicken and a simply tomato sauce that wasn't' spicy at all (we had a bowl of freshly made green salsa that was extremely spicy for those that wanted to add heat to their dishes they could simply grab a couple spoonfuls and drizzle on their plates). The dish is fairly simple, very quick to put together, and with ingredients readily available to anyone in any country I believe and it tastes heavenly and is so light on the stomach (the mint leaves are good for digestions , and rice is very easy to digest). If your looking for something simple and healthy give this a try :)

Ingredients for meatballs:
-1 1/2 lbs ground chicken (grind it yourself or buy it ground)
-1 1/2- 2 cups cooled rice (could be white rice or leftover rice of any kind, my mom used leftover yellow rice from last night)
-1/2 a large bunch of mint leaves (cleaned, washed, patted dried then finely chopped)
-1/2 chopped onion
-2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 large egg
-salt & pepper to taste

Ingredients for sauce:
-1/2 a large onion or 1 onion finely chopped
-2 cloves garlic
-5-6 fresh ripe tomatoes
-1 heaping teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
-1 cup water
-salt and pepper to taste
-extra-virgin olive oil

Ingredient to garnish (optional):
-finely chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

(1) Put all meatball ingredients in a bowl,

mix together to combine, but do not over mix,
  and then form meatballs into medium sized balls. Set aside.
 (2) In a deep wide sauce pan or wide pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat, sautee chopped onions, and when onions are translucent and well cooked about 5- 7 minutes.
(3) Meanwhile in a blender blend tomatoes, garlic, chicken bouillon powder, salt and pepper, and add about 1 cup of water to blend everything to a smooth sauce,
 when blended add this mixture to the sauteed onions.
(4) Bring sauce to a boil, add meatballs one by one,
 cover and simmer 20- 25 minutes, until cooked through, add more water and adjust salt if you want the sauce looser. Before turning off sprinkle cilantro or parsley if you want to.

(5) We served it over white rice, with a salad dressed in olive oil, lemon, oregano, and salt.

(1) When my mom makes the chicken meatballs like she did here, she adds more rice because the ground chicken meat for some reason seems to be "looser" than using beef, it's less compact , so if you see the recipe when she prepared the beef ones for her soup, she used less rice.

(2) Don't panic if the chicken meatballs aren't perfectly round or seem too gloppy after making the meatballs, simply before adding to the hot pot, roll them in your hand into a ball prior to dropping them in the hot pot.


Jacquelineand.... said...

Oh lovely! I'd been looking for some lighter recipes and meatballs, mint, and rice sound heavenly.
Thanks for sharing!

Campbell Jane said...

I'm definitely going to try this. My mint is up & thriving. It is "mint" for this recipe. (it's way too early for that really) hahaha
Thanks for posting! I'll be back...
Peace & Blessings

Nathan said...

Thanks for the comment let me know how it turns out if you get to making it :)

Campbell Jane,
Lucky you! I wish I had a huge amount of mint growing :) another good way to use Mint if you have large amounts you want to use is to make "Iced Mint Tea" for the summer or hot weather, and also hot mint tea for the winter :) Here's a link on my blog for the way I prepare those teas:

Ivonne said...

Hello Nathan, sorry I've been so absent. This recipe sounds very good. Although I've made turkey meatballs, I've never made any with rice before instead of breadcrumbs. This is giving me ideas. I like the addition of mint also. Hope you are well.

Núria said...

With albondigas happens the same as with potatoes... I cannot eat only one!
Delicious recipe, Nathan.

Nathan said...

No worries I know we all get caught up with life sometimes :) n yeah life's been good up and downs, but hangin in there, with the current economy I think a lot of us are struggling. Take care and let me know how those meatballs turn out if you get to making them :)

I totally feel the same way lol. I can never eat just 1 albondiga, and can never eat just 1 potato specially if it's fried YUM!... then again same thing happens to me with empanadas, croquettas, and flan... tsk tsk lol.

Lote en cuotas said...

deliciussssssssss food, today i am going to cook this!

it is fantastic. :)

Bren @ Flanboyant Eats™ said...

Muy parecido a uno que he hecho. Mint always goes so nicely with carne!

Loni said...

Do you have a button on your site that allows people to follow your blog? I couldn't find it :(

Anonymous said...

I make these all the time! I add chopped oregano and one blended small tomatoe to the meatballs too along with all the same ingredients in your recipe. I also add veggies to my stew (carrots and potatoes). It's delish!!!!

Nathan said...

The blended tomato must add some nice moisture into the meat, next time i'll try it that way, and well the oregano, another good herb in anything :) thanks for the comment, the potato and carrot is also a great idea to stretch out this dish, thanks for the feedback :)

Anonymous said...

Why did you use ragu pasta sauce

Nathan said...

I did not use ragu pasta sauce, I pureed tomatoes in the blender with garlic, chicken bouillon powder, salt and pepper. You could see and read it in the picture below step 3 on my blog post under directions.

Nathan said...

LOL a picture of ragu sauce is in the picture but that I had used it for something else, it was lying around in my kitchen.