Albóndigas a la jardinera

Typical Spanish meatballs recipe, also called “Albóndigas a la Madrileña.” A hearty all-in-one pot meal, meatballs with loads of vegetables. You can get this as a “segundo plato” in most bars and menú del día type restaurants.


  • 12 meatballs (I buy them pre-made from the store, but it’s probably about 500g of carne picada)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and diced finely
  • 2 leeks, white and light green tops, sliced
  • 1 potato, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1-2 cups of frozen peas (I like a lot of peas in this recipe.)
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 100 g tomato paste or a small can of triturado
  • flour
  • pimentón de la vera
  • salt
  • 150 ml cheap white wine
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cups caldo or a stock cube + 2 cups water


Dredge the meatballs in a few tablespoons of flour that’s been mixed with some pimentón. In a big pot, heat up a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, brown meatballs evenly over medium-high heat and remove.  Turn heat to medium and sauté onion, garlic and leeks until they start to soften (scraping up bits from the bottom of the pot). Add carrots and sauté for a few more minutes. Then add the white wine, caldo (or stock cube), tomato paste (or triturado) and a cup or two of water. Better to add less water now and see how it looks with all the veg, and then you can add more later if necessary. Add in meatballs, bay leaves, potatoes, peas, and a bit more pimentón. Check for salt. Let simmer for 30-45 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring every 10-15 minutes.

Check the last 10-15 minutes or so to make sure carrots/potatoes are done, but don’t over cook. I like to turn the heat off and let the pot sit for a while so the flavors can blend. Right before you serve, heat the pot back up up to simmering and serve.

Update: I’ve made this now half a dozen times or so, and it’s fast becoming Joel’s favorite. In addition to onion, leek and garlic I also throw in a couple of rough-chopped shallots. You can also sub out some of the potato and/or carrots with parsnips, for more root vegetable goodness!

Servings: Six, approx. According to MFP each serving has about 400 calories. Not bad!


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