The origin of Albondigas “Meatballs”


The minced meat shaped as balls was a dish of high social classes and not a resource for the less well off

Resultado de imagen de albondigas collage

The refinement of the minced meat molded in the form of pellets was a dish of high social classes and not an economic resource of the less well off to take advantage or lengthen meats of lower category, in which the meatballs have stopped. However, careful preparation and good raw material can make them a magnificent gastronomic resource.

Old formula

Undoubtedly, partially echoing previous recipes, Marco Gavio Apicio already collects in the imperial Rome some meatball recipes. Quote those made with beef, chicken, peacock, rabbit, and pork. The dough is made of finely minced meat, mixed with moistened crumb bread crumbs and various spices; The most common preparation procedure is to boil them in saltwater and occasionally spiced, until they are tender and tend to float, more or less as is common in Central Europe today. It also contains a formula of identical elaboration but that adds the refinement of the meatball sausage in pork gut, leaving them loose, and then roast the whole. As you can see, more than 20 centuries of tradition and in addition to haute cuisine, support the tradition of our protagonists. 

The documents on food in Andalusia Spain of the XII-XIII centuries include meatball formulas (al-banadiq) and a curious fact: among the popular classes, it was much more frequent to buy the meatballs already made (in mold) and fried in the Market to prepare them at home. Ibn Razin al-Tubigí alludes to a meatball recipe made with minced meat, spiced, mixed with egg white, molded into wooden molds and then boiled in saltwater. The anonymous 13th-century Almohad translated by Ambrosio Huici Miranda cites a similar formula, with added garlic, which is already fried as usual today, then making a sauce with the oil, some vinegar, garlic and beaten egg to thicken.

Resultado de imagen de al-banadiq

Within the Hispanic tradition, in which the segregation of Portugal is a late historical phenomenon, the cookbook of the Infanta María de Portugal (16th century) includes a recipe, regal, of meatballs made of minced pork or ram meat, with added beaten egg and some flour to lock and lighten, they are fried in butter and served in a thick broth with substance and well spiced. 

Resultado de imagen de variedad de albondigas

Cooked in broth

At the beginning of the following century, Hernández de Maceras refers to the “way of making meatloaf” in his kitchen compendium of Colegio Mayor, with minced meat attached to beaten eggs, crumb of bread moistened, chopped bacon, garlic, some green leaf (spinach ) and spices, which are cooked in broth, “that is not cooked” so as not to alter the final flavor, instead of frying them and can then be served with some of the same broth thickened with beaten egg.

Resultado de imagen de albondigas

The real chef Francisco Martínez Montiño, of the same century, gives the recipe of classic meatballs also cooked in broth and brings news of the “borage dumplings “, in which the vegetables of the Ebro basin, cooked, chopped, added bread Grated and egg yolks are mounted in the form of balls that must be cooked in chickpea broth. The reference is interesting because it gives faith in the first place of the traditional use of borage and, above all, how popular the meatballs are as a culinary form, which already jumps from the strict meat origin. For example, the “Castilian meatballs” of the same author combine the minced meat with cooked and chopped vegetables, along with previously rendered onion, eggs, and spices; the cook warns that the vegetable must be dominant over the meat and that the preparation is by cooking in broth.

Our Altamiras lists in the middle of the 18th-century ram meatballs recipes, which must be cooked in broth made with the skeletal remains of the meat pieces and the “sudden almóndigas” made in the traditional way but that take their name of “sudden” because they They do quickly, frying them in butter instead of subjecting them to prolonged cooking in broth, and they are served sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon

The cookbook of the Jesuit houses, from the beginning of the 19th century, includes a recipe for classic meatballs that incorporate, in addition to traditional spices, breadcrumbs, and some parsley and pepper-sprayed in mortar, on the eve of the first elaboration large scale paprika in Murcia; such meatballs are served with a gravy sauce beaten with yolks, heated until a semi-thick consistency is obtained.

Russian steak as evolution

Resultado de imagen de bitoques rusos

Russian steaks or bitoques in international cuisine are still crushed large meatballs. The fundamental difference is that they suppose larger rations and that their greater surface allows them to be grilled, grilled or fried, while for meatballs it is necessary to proceed to the cooking or frying – the skewered meatballs made in skewers and made brasa do not belong to the Hispanic tradition ?? The invention is not something recent and formulas are already collected in the anonymous 13th century Almohad of Huici Miranda, which are prepared by frying in oil and served with a strong vinaigrette, called isfiriya and ahras . 

The formula is transmitted with less success than the meatballs themselves, in the form of pastures (the first cakes are meat and not sweet, as is well known) of small size, which are made over low heat with butter and sugar and then they have just browned between two fires (pot with covert and embers on top) or they are baked in the oven as the Portuguese book of the Infanta Maria attests in the 16th century. The recipe, very simple, passes without penalty or glory to popular kitchens without reflection in important recipes, to the post-war regenerationist kitchen in which since the mid-50s Russian steaks are called “German steaks “(Caramba!). During the war, in some places such fillets were called “imperial” to avoid the appointment of Russia, a paradigm in the thinking of the moment of all the anti-Spanish evils, and to emphasize the idea of ​​the new Spain.

Resultado de imagen de albondigas de camaron

Sinaloa Shrimp Albondigas

****** List of ingredients for shrimp meatballs *******

Ingredients: 1 kg (2 lb) shrimp with husk and head

1 1/2 cup of ground bread

1 egg

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

2 chopped garlic

A teaspoon of Goya or homemade Seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, ground pepper, and salt Oil Salt to taste

For the sauce: 4 tomatoes Tree chiles to taste 3 guajillo peppers 1 garlic 1 piece of onion

For the shrimp flavor broth: 1 celery branch 1/2 onion Spices 3 bay leaf, 8 pepper and oregano a pinch Salt to taste

Note: If you don’t want to make the shrimp flavored broth, use 1 or 2 cubes of knorr shrimp broth.

Albondigas de Chipotle

Albondigas Soup


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