What are Albóndigas?

Posted on 02 Apr 2016 18:29

Albóndigas are the Spanish version of meatballs. The name comes from Arabic word al-bunduq, which derives from the Greek word for hazelnut, suggesting that the meatballs are of the same shape and size.

Albóndigas, widely eaten in Spain, Mexico, and other Latin American countries, are usually made from ground beef, but they may also be made from veal, pork, poultry, and sometimes even fish are used.

Like any meatball, there are as many variations as there are people who make them.

It is very likely that these Spanish meatballs are an Islamic or Moorish transplant, and chopped meats are certainly a feature of Middle Eastern cuisine.

Spanish history traces them back to the Islamic influence resulting from the Arab invasion of the Iberian Peninsula in 711 AD, which lasted until 1492 when the Moors were expelled from Spain by Isabella and Ferninand.

Some food historians, however, believe that albóndigas are of Medieval European or even Ancient Roman descent.

Spanish Meatballs with sauce

Image by Boca Dorada via FlickrImage Credit

Although Spanish meatballs are enjoyed in many different ways in Spain, often as part of the tapas spread, one traditional dish is Albóndigas with tomato sauce.

In Mexico, Albóndigas, typically larger and spicy, are often served in a soup or with a spicy chile-based sauce.

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