‘Almondegas’ is the Portuguese word for meatballs. My mum used to make them as a treat, sometimes at the weekends. She would add chorizo into the mince for extra flavour. I have also included porcini mushrooms which add and extra smokey dimensions into such a simple yet delicious dish.
For the meatballs
400 gr of mince beef
100 gr of dark sourdough (approx 3 slices)
80 gr of chorizo
1 beaten egg
15 gr of porcini mushrooms
2 bird eye chills
1/2 teaspoon of coriander powder
Salt & pepper
For the sauce
A can of good quality tomatoes
300 ml of water
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 bay leaf
Salt & pepper
1- Soak the mushrooms in boiling water and set aside until they become soft. Place the bread, the chorizo, the chillies into a food processor and whizz everything until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add in the mushrooms (keeping the water in which they have soaked) and whizz again. Set aside.
2 – In a bowl place the the mince, add the breadcrumb mixture and the beaten egg and fold everything together until is all well mixed. season with salt & pepper. Make individual balls of approximately 3cm in diameter and set aside.
3 – Brown the meatballs, both sides, in a pan with the oil and add the garlic and the bay leaf. Pour the can of tomatoes on top of the meatballs, add the water, season with salt and pepper and mix well. Let it simmer for 30-45 minutes. If it dries out quickly, keeping adding small amounts of water.
4 – Serve on top of a lemoney couscous or simply cooked pasta.