Spanish Smoked Meatballs
by Johnny Loua, Chef, Seattle, Washington
Try a new spin on meatballs with this Spanish-inspired recipe. The combination of fresh and smoky ingredients comes together as a great appetizer to serve with a side of fresh salsa.
- 1 pound bacon, cut into thin strips
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 large jalapeño or serrano chilies, seeds and ribs removed and finely chopped
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup whole milk
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup grated smoked cheddar
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1½ pounds Certified Piedmontese ground beef
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup salsa, for dipping
Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil and spray the foil with vegetable oil spray.
Add bacon to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until bacon is crisp. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon, and set aside. Discard all but 2 tablespoons bacon fat from skillet. Add onion, garlic, and chilies to skillet and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes or until onion is translucent.
While vegetables cook, combine egg and milk in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Add bread crumbs, cheddar, cilantro, oregano, smoked paprika, cumin, and liquid smoke and mix well. Combine onion mixture, bacon, and beef, season to taste with salt and pepper, and mix well.
Form mixture into 1½-inch meatballs and arrange on the prepared pan. Spray tops of meatballs with vegetable oil spray. Bake meatballs for 12 to 15 minutes or until cooked through. Remove pan from oven and serve with salsa for dipping.