Ancho Meatballs Recipe

Ancho Meatballs Recipe

This meal is smooth and calming. Comforting and delicious, perfect for dinner after a hard day. The flavours and textures are lovely. The Mexican ingredients used for this meal are the mellow ones, the ground ancho pepper present in the Adobo seasoning in the meatballs is complemented by other tasty but mellow spices. The braised fennel becomes almost sweet and the simple mash brings everything together. The pasilla chilli oil adds depth but not heat. Nothing screams here. Pure calm. 

Recipe Serves 4


Ancho Meatballs

-500g Pork & beef mince blend 

-1 cup Breadcrumbs

-1 tsp Ground cumin

-1 tsp Ground coriander

-1 Tbsp Adobo seasoning 

-1 tsp Oregano

-1 tsp Sea salt

-1 tsp Black pepper

-1 Garlic clove minced

-1 Egg

-2 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil

-Olive oil

-1 Tbsp Unsalted butter


1 In a bowl, fluff up the meat with a fork to separate the mince evenly. Add the breadcrumbs and mix well with the fork. Add all the spices and the garlic and mix well again. You want the blend to be airy, not compacted.

2 Add the egg, the olive oil and stir evenly once more with the fork. Do not over mix. 

3 Roll heaped tablespoonfuls of the mixture into balls in your hands. Do not press them too much. You want the meatballs to be fluffy, not hard. As soon as they hold together, they are good to go. 

4 Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium high heat. Add the butter and a drizzle of olive oil to it. Once the butter has melted and starts to bubble, add the meatballs and sear them on all sides. Turn them often until evenly browned. Remove from the pan and let them rest. They don’t need to be cooked through yet, they will finish up with the fennel. 


Braised Fennel

-2 Fennel bulbs cut into wedges. Keep a little of the base so they hold together.

-50g Unsalted butter

-50g Flour

-500ml Vegetable stock

-1 Tbsp Creme fraiche

-Salt & Pepper to taste


1 In the same non-stick frying pan that you used for the meatballs, sear the fennel wedges on all sides on medium heat. 3 to 4 minutes on each side should be enough. Once they are golden brown, remove from the pan and reserve.

2 Add the butter and once it has melted, add the flour and whisk together until a thick paste has formed (roux). Add the vegetable stock gradually and whisk until no lumps are left and a thick sauce has formed. Add the creme fraiche and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let the sauce bubble and lower the heat. Return the meatballs and the fennel wedges to the pan and cook covered for 20 minutes. 


Easy Mash

-6 Large potatoes such as Maris Piper

-50g Unsalted butter

-50ml Milk or cream

-Salt & Pepper

1 Clean, peel and dice the potatoes into even chunks

2 Place the potatoes in a big pot and cover with water and add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. 

3 Drain the potatoes and place back into the same pot. Mash them until nice and smooth. Add the butter and the cream and mix well. Season with plenty of salt and pepper to taste. 


Chilli Oil

-1 Cup olive oil

-3 Tbsp dried chillies, we used pasilla, sliced. Seeds removed.

-1 Garlic clove, sliced in half

-Pinch of sea salt


1 Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir often and don’t let the oil smoke or come to a boiling point. A few bubbles are ok but don’t let it burn. If it does, remove from the heat. Keep stirring for at least 5 minutes. 

2 Remove from the heat and let the infusion cool down. Remove the garlic and discard. 

3 Keep the oil in a sealed bottle or jar. This oil will be a nice last touch to many meals. 

Note: The pasilla chilli is flavourful but not hot. You could make this oil with chile de árbol for a hotter variant or use ancho chilli for a fruity flavour. 


To Serve

In a nice serving dish add the mashed potatoes and place the meatballs and braised fennel on top. Add the sauce and liberally drizzle with the chilli oil. 


mexican love

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