Torta de Albóndigas (Meatball Sandwich), photo by Sonia Mendez GarciaPhoto by Sonia Mendez Garcia

Torta de Albóndigas (Meatball Sandwich)

Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4-6 servings
Albóndigas are delicious! Homemade albóndigas covered in a delicious chile ancho sauce and melted cheese, stuffed into a soft bolillo roll, amazing!

A torta fit for a king! This torta de albóndigas is packed with flavor. Oversized savory homemade meatballs seared and then gently cooked in a chile ancho sauce. Prepare four hearty tortas or why not serve them as sliders? Perfect for all of your game-day festivities with friends! Meatball sandwiches are very popular here in New York, where I live. And of course, I had to add my Mexican spin to a classic meatball sandwich with this torta de albóndigas. Did you know that meatballs are the perfect freezer food? Freeze them uncooked or cooked. Either way, your friends and family will love albóndigas for dinner tonight!

Ingredients

  • For the Albóndigas
  • pounds ground chuck
  • 1 large egg
  • teaspoons chile ancho powder or any mild chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/3 cup onion finely chopped
  • 1 large jalapeño pepper seeded and minced
  • tablespoons parsley or cilantro finely chopped
  • For the Sauce
  • 8 dried chile ancho pods stems and seeds removed
  • 4-5 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely minced
  • tablespoons flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano crushed
  • You Will Also Need
  • 4-6 bolillo rolls or similar
  • 8 ounces of cheese Oaxaca, Chihuahua or Mozzarella
  • grilled onions and jalapeño peppers (optional)

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Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the beef, egg, chile ancho powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, onion, jalapeño and parsley. Stir well to combine. Roll 12 equal-size meatballs and place onto a plate or tray. Flatten the meatballs slightly so they resemble a fat hamburger patty. Cover and refrigerate.
  2. Remove the stems and seeds from the chile ancho peppers. Place into a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and continue cooking for 8-9 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer the chile ancho to the blender. Add 2 cups of chicken broth. Blend on high until smooth. Strain into a bowl, using a fine mesh wire strainer. Set aside. Remove the meatballs from refrigerator and place onto the counter.
  4. In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of oil to medium heat. Add ½ cup of diced onion and 2 cloves of garlic. Season lightly with salt and pepper and saute for 5 minutes. Stir in the flour until well combined and cook for another minute. Add in the strained chile ancho sauce, 2 cups of broth, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for a 10 minutes. Taste for salt. Remove from heat.
  5. Preheat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a large skillet at medium heat. Brown the meatballs for 2-3 minutes per side. Place the chile ancho sauce back onto low heat and add the meatballs as you are done browning them. When done, let the meatballs simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Preheat broiler on high. For the torta, slice your bolillos open and remove just a little of the bread inside. To each bolillo, carefully add 3 meatballs. Spoon in some sauce. Add 2 ounces of cheese to each one. Place on baking sheet or pan, open side up. Place under broiler just until cheese melts. Serve with grilled jalapeños and onions. Preheat broiler on high. For the torta, slice your bolillos open and remove just a little of the bread inside. To each bolillo, carefully add 3 meatballs. Spoon in some sauce. Add 2 ounces of cheese to each one. Place on baking sheet or pan, open side up. Place under broiler just until cheese melts. Serve with grilled jalapeños and onions.

Chef Notes

Need a quick braising sauce for your albóndigas? Take your favorite store-bought salsa and blend it with some chicken broth until smooth! As it cooks, you could add a pinch of your favorite spices, such as garlic, cumin or oregano. Prepare uncooked meatballs and store in your freezer for later!

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