May 27 2022

Spanish Meatballs, a Well-Rounded Classic Tapa

Minced meat, a tasty sauce, and lots of bread: satisfaction guaranteed...

Few tapas have that homemade, old-fashioned stew-like flavor, like meatballs. These little balls, which are a traditional part of Spanish gastronomy, are prepared from minced beef, breadcrumbs, garlic, egg yolk, paprika, salt, and pepper. Meatballs can also be made with other types of meat, such as pork, often mixed with veal; fish, such as hake or cuttlefish; or even vegetables. Before frying, they are dredged in flour, which gives them their unique texture.

The secret is in the sauce

However, a meatball would be nothing without the sauce that it's usually served with. It is such an important part of Spanish gastronomy that it's known as "Spanish sauce." The key to the recipe is that it contains a lot of onion, thoroughly cooked in olive oil. It's also made with beef broth, and carrots or leeks, among other ingredients.

A dish like this is easily combined with more than one type of wine. Meatballs go well with a glass of Tempranillo, be it from Rioja or Ribera del Duero, but also with red wines from Toro, Jumilla or La Mancha. Some of the recipes incorporate sherry wine, so there are those who prefer to eat them with a glass of Oloroso or Amontillado. What must also be included is a good bread for dipping, until there's not a drop of sauce left!

Meatballs infography