This Catalan dish is often served as a tapas, but can easily morph into a main course with the addition of some steamed potatoes and a green salad. “Albondigas” comes from the Arab word for ball and versions of this meatball dish are wildly popular all over Spain. Spanish food expert Penelope Casas in her fantastic book 'Delicioso' says some cookbooks in Spain devote entire chapters to their preparation. Make these with beef, veal or even chicken mince if you prefer.






Skill level

Average: 5 (1 vote)


  • 750 g pork mince
  • 80 g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 small onion, very finely chopped
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • flour, for dusting
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
  • roughly chopped flat leaf parsley, to serve


Saffron and almond sauce

  • 80 ml (⅓ cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, halved and finely sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • large pinch saffron threads
  • 1½ tsp sweet paprika
  • 250 ml (1 cup) white wine
  • 625 ml (2 ½ cups) chicken stock
  • 55 g (⅓ cup) almond meal
  • 25 g (⅓ cup) fresh breadcrumbs

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium, add the onion and garlic then cook, stirring often, for 7-8 minutes or until very soft. Add the saffron and paprika then cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until fragrant then add the wine. Bring the wine to a simmer then cook for 5 minutes over medium or until the wine has reduced slightly then add the stock. Bring to a simmer then stir in the crumbs and almond meal and season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Combine the mince, crumbs, garlic, onion, nutmeg and egg in a bowl. Season well with salt and pepper then, using clean hands, mix to combine well. Take half tablespoonfuls of the mixture and roll it into balls. Dust the balls in flour. Heat the olive oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over medium, add the meatballs then cook, turning often, for 10 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Using a slotted spoon to drain off as much of the oil as possible, transfer the balls to the sauce and gently stir to combine well. Bring the sauce back to a simmer then serve the meat balls and sauce, with parsley scattered over.


Photography, styling and food preparation by china squirrel.