Albóndigas with Mushrooms


These Spanish-style meatballs are prepared with a quick béchamel, which makes them wonderfully moist and tender. They’re cooked in a deeply flavorful tomato-based sauce made with wine and brandy, then topped with crisp mushrooms. Slideshow: More Meatball Recipes 

Albóndigas with Mushrooms
Devoured at tapas bars, passed around at cocktail parties, enjoyed for Sunday supper, albóndigas are the embodiment of Spain’s carnivorous vigor—especially as served at bullfighting taverns—and at the same time a nostalgic tribute to  mamá (whose meatballs are, obviously,  always the best). The classic pan-Spanish recipe? It usually features  albóndigas in a  salsa española: a sauce of pan drippings, carrots, flour, a bit of tomato and a splash of white wine. Where to eat them: At  Echaurren Tradición, Riojan star chef Francis Paniego’s tender  albóndigas come with a flourish of shaved truffles.  Get the recipe:Albóndigas with Mushrooms. Photo: Christopher Testani
Active Time:
1 hr 25 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 40 mins



  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dredging

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1 pound ground chuck

  • 1/2 pound ground pork

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

  • 3 tablespoons minced parsley

  • 1 tablespoons white Rioja or other dry white wine

  • 1 large garlic clove, grated

  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika

  • Kosher salt

  • Pepper

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil


  • 2 medium tomatoes, halved crosswise

  • 1/2 cup minced onion

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot

  • 5 garlic cloves, minced

  • Kosher salt

  • Pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup white Rioja or other dry white wine

  • 3 tablespoons brandy or dry sherry

  • 2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 pound mixed wild mushrooms, such as cremini, oyster and chanterelle, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • Kosher salt

  • Pepper


  1. Make the meatballs In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour; cook over moderate heat, whisking, until a thick paste forms, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk and cook until thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape into a large bowl and let cool slightly. Add the chuck, pork, eggs, parsley, wine, garlic, paprika, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper; mix well. Cover and refrigerate for about 2 hours.

  2. Form the meat mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Dredge half the meatballs in flour. Cook over moderately high heat, turning, until browned all over, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and meatballs; don’t wipe out the pan.

  3. Make the sauce Grate the tomato halves on the large holes of a box grater set in a bowl until only the skins remain; discard the skins.

  4. Add the onion, carrot, garlic and a generous pinch of salt to the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until just starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and paprika and simmer over moderate heat until slightly reduced, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the flour, then stir in the wine and brandy and simmer until barely thickened, 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender and puree until very smooth. Return to the saucepan, whisk in the stock and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper.

  5. Add the meatballs to the sauce, cover and simmer over moderately low heat until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Uncover and simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley, cover and keep warm over very low heat.

  6. Meanwhile, make the mushrooms In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Add half the mushrooms; season with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining oil and mushrooms.

  7. Spoon the meatballs and sauce into bowls, top with the mushrooms and serve.

Make Ahead

The meatballs can be refrigerated in the sauce for up to 2 days. Reheat gently and stir in the parsley before serving.

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