Albondigas and Arroz Amarillo

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Albondigas meal. Photo by Keri White

Keri White

I lived in Spain many years ago and have always enjoyed the cuisine. This recipe, which translates to “meatballs and yellow rice,” is a bueno way to use ground meat and a nice variation to the traditional spaghetti and meatballs with marinara sauce.

Unlike Italian meatballs, which often contain Parmesan cheese, these beauties don’t need to be adapted for kosher diners. Albondigas can be made bite-sized and served on toothpicks as tapas, but I opted to make them larger and served them as a main course.
Any type of ground meat can be used here; I used beef because it was in my fridge, but lamb, veal, chicken or turkey are completely fine in this preparation.


I made the yellow rice myself, but there are good packaged versions available from brands like Carolina.

Accompanied by a simple green salad, this meal was an ideal dinner on a cold, rainy night.
For dessert, you can stay within the Spanish culinary tradition while still upholding kashrut. Consider a flan made with coconut milk, an espresso-sized cup of rich, molten hot chocolate made with water or nut milk or a lemon-infused olive oil cake. Too much trouble? Buy some cookies or sorbet and say ¡buon apetito!

Albondigas | Meat
Serves 4

For the sauce, use vegetable, chicken or beef broth, depending on the type of meat. You can also use water. The sauce is quite flavorful.

For the meatballs:
1 pound ground meat
⅔ cup finely chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, finely minced, divided
¼ to ½ teaspoon salt
1 heaping teaspoon smoked paprika
(aka “pimenton”)
¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper,
if spiciness is desired
1 egg
½ cup plain breadcrumbs or panko

For the sauce:
1 tablespoon oil
⅔ cup finely chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
(aka “pimenton”)
¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper,
if spiciness is desired
¼ to ½ teaspoon salt
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
4 cups broth or water

Heat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a broiler pan with parchment.

In a bowl, mix all the meatball ingredients until thoroughly blended. Using wet hands, form the mixture into golf-ball-sized rounds, packed somewhat firmly, and place them on the pan. Roast them in the oven until the balls are browning on the outside, about 20 minutes.

While the meatballs roast, make the sauce. In a large skillet with a lid, heat the oil and sauté the onions and garlic. When fragrant, add the seasonings and stir. Add the tomato paste and continue stirring and scraping the pan until the paste begins to break up, about 8 minutes. Add broth or water, stir well and bring it to a simmer.

When the meatballs are done, gently place them in the sauce, and cook them on low at a simmer, covered for at least 45 minutes. (Albondigas can simmer for several hours or be turned off and reheated later). Serve the meatballs over yellow rice and/or with crusty bread.

Arroz Amarillo | Meat or Pareve
Serves 4

For a special splurge, use a few threads of crushed saffron in place of the turmeric.
1 tablespoon oil
1½ cups long-grain white rice
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon salt
Generous sprinkling of freshly cracked pepper
3 cups chicken/vegetable broth
or water

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the rice and seasonings and sauté until fragrant and well-coated. Add the broth or water and bring it to a boil.

Lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked through.

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