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.