Veal Meatballs with Tomatillo Chipotle Salsa

2009 Nov/Dec


  • 4 roma tomatoes, pan roasted*, chopped and reserved
  • 4 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 T. olive oil
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 t. each, ground cinnamon and oregano
  • 1 t. each, black peppercorns and dried allspice berries
  • 8 T. dried currants
  • 4 T. drained capers
  • 2 lbs. each, ground pork and ground veal
  • 1 c. panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 T. sea salt


In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, cook the onions in some of the oil, without browning them, until soft, about 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes, garlic, spices, the remainder of the oil, currants and capers and continue to cook another 10 minutes. Pour into a large bowl and add the pork, veal, panko, eggs and salt. Mix together gently. Form the mixture into 1-inch balls and roast in a roasting pan at 350°F. until cooked through but not browned, about 10 minutes. Cover the meatballs with the salsa and heat for 20 minutes more in a low oven. Serve as a sit-down appetizer.

Tomatillo Chipotle Salsa: toss 8 roma tomatoes, 8 tomatillos, 1 coarsely chopped onion and 5 garlic cloves with olive oil and roast in a 400°F. oven until tomatoes and tomatillos are slightly blackened and the onions and garlic are nicely caramelized. Purée the vegetables in a blender with 4 chipotle chiles in adobo until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

(* To pan roast, put the whole tomatoes into a hot sauté pan and roast them on all sides until lightly browned.)