Monday, December 3, 2012

tex-mex meatballs.

I threw a party in the new apartment this past weekend. 
Logic said this was a crazy idea (for a lot of reasons). 
In actuality it was the best idea I've had in a long time. 

I called the party Christmas in Mexico and I served a lot of tacos and I drank my share of tequila and I danced to Call Me Maybe.  It was the most fun I've had in the longest time. Since then I decided the key to a successful party involves tacos and tequila because everyone loves both of them and because tacos are handheld (which is perfect for a party) and tequila makes everyone dance. Most of the menu items came from the Homesick Texan Cookbook, which if you don't own it I suggest running out to the nearest bookstore and buying it because it's that good - it's filled with the kind of food everyone (and I mean everyone) loves.  I took her recipe for Tex-Mex meatloaf and changed it around a little to make a Tex-Mex meatball because it just seemed cute and because I heart set on a meatball (I have no idea where these ideas come from).  I served it with red rice and beans and a plethora of tortillas and sliced avocado.  Everyone loved it which made me oh so happy.  

Tex-Mex Meatballs
Recipe adapted from The Homesick Texan Cookbook

Serves 12 generously (even more if you have sides)

For the Sauce

1 1/2 cups crushed canned tomatoes (I love fire roasted)
1 - 2 chipotle in adobo (2 if you like some heat), diced
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
2 cloves garlic, diced
Salt, to taste

For the Meatballs

1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 medium onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1/2 pound Mexican chorizo, removed from casing
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 large eggs
1 cup finely ground tortilla chips
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a large baking sheet with foil that has been greased. 

Heat the oil in a skillet on medium low heat and add the onion.  Cook uncovered for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.  

Slide the cooked onion and garlic into a large bowl.  Add to the bowl the ground beef, the chorizo, cilantro, eggs, ground tortilla chips, oregano, cumin, Worcestershire, black pepper, and salt.  With your hands, gently mix all ingredients until well combined.  

Take the meat and form it into 1 inch diameter balls, and place them on the baking sheet.  Continue until you finish with all the meat.  Bake for 15 minutes until cooked through.

While the meatballs are cooking, prepare the sauce.  In a large saucepan add the crushed tomatoes, chipotle, lime juice, oregano, and garlic.  Cook over low heat so the flavors meld together.  Taste, and add salt as necessary.  When the meatballs are done, peel them off the foil and place them in the saucepan.  Stir to combine.  

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