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Almost always round, and served with some kind of sauce or gravy, this classic dish, originally from China, can be found across the globe infused with many different cultural flavors. I chose a classic – mildly spiced beef with a tomato sauce.



1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped PLUS 1 teaspoon adobo sauce

1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes with liquid

1 slice soft bread, torn into tiny pieces

2 tablespoons milk

2 pounds ground beef

1/2 teaspoon cumin

freshly ground black pepper

Heat oven to 350F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Spray with cooking spray.

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and half of the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the chipotle pepper and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes with their juices, breaking up the tomatoes with a large spoon. Simmer, partially covered, until the sauce thickens, about 2 minutes.

While the tomato mixture simmers, combine, in a large bowl, the bread and milk and let soak for a minute or two, then add the beef, adobo sauce, garlic, cumin a generous pinch or two of salt and ground black pepper and mix thoroughly with your hands. Divide mixture into walnut-sized balls. Place balls on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Serve the meatballs with the sauce.


Recipe adapted from The Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette, September 2015