I recently discovered Beals Farm Charcuterie. Crafted with meat from Phil Beal’s ‘home grown’ Mangalitza pigs in Sussex, he makes delicious charcuterie ranging from Coppa to cooking chorizo (and much more besides). I’ve used the latter in these albondigas (Spanish for meatballs) which are flavoured with fennel seeds and rosemary. As well as being a fan of chorizo I also love fennel which is in season at this time of the year (as featured in the August issue of Sussex Style magazine). I’ve used this anise flavoured bulb to create a rich and aromatic fennel and tomato sauce to go with the albondigas. This makes a delicious tapas dish or can be served with pasta if you prefer.
Makes about 32 (Serves 4 – 6)
Ingredients for the albondigas
- 100g cooking chorizo, roughly chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 400g pork mince
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tsp fennel seeds
- salt, pepper & nutmeg to season
- 2 – 3 tbsp olive oil
Ingredients for the fennel & tomato sauce
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 150ml red wine
- 140g tin tomato puree
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp sugar
- salt & pepper to season
- To make the albondigas, place the chorizo, onion, garlic and rosemary in a food processor fitted with a cutting blade. Briefly blitz until everything is finely chopped. Scrape down the sides of the bowl then add the pork mince and lemon zest. Blitz again until everything is combined then add the fennel seeds and season with salt, pepper and a grating of nutmeg. Use the pulse setting to mix the seeds in. Alternatively you can mix all of the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl by hand but you will need to ensure everything is finely chopped beforehand.
- Transfer the albondigas mixture to a large board and shape into a large patty (rather like a massive hamburger). Divide this into quarters and then each quarter into 8 pieces. Roll each piece between the palms of your hands (it helps if your hands a slight wet for this) to form small meatballs. Place on a plate until you are ready to cook them (they could be refrigerated at this stage if you wish).
- Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil over a medium heat in a large, fairly deep frying pan. Fry the albondigas until golden brown all over. You will need to do this in batches. Transfer the browned meatballs to a plate lined with absorbent kitchen towel.
- You can make the sauce in the same frying pan using more oil if you think you need it. Some chorizo gives off more fat than others so it may not be required. Add the chopped onion and fennel to the pan and fry gently until softened then add the crushed garlic and cook for a minute or so more.
- Pour in the red wine and tomato puree. Boil for 1 minute before adding the chopped tomatoes and sugar. Season with a little salt and pepper then bring the sauce back up to boiling point. Add the meatballs and return to a simmer for 30 minutes, stirring the albondigas from time to time to bathe them in the rich sauce. You can eat this as soon as it’s cooked although I think it improves in flavour if you leave it in the fridge overnight and reheat it the next day.