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Serrano Ham, Green Olive & Lemon Albondigas in a Tomato & Sherry Sauce

26 June 2022

Serrano Ham, Olive & Lemon Albondigas in a Rich Tomato & Sherry SauceI’ve been supple busy lately, so taking time to cook & experiment has been on the side line for a while, to be honest I lost a bit of the inspiration and energy to come up with new dishes. I’m glad I could fall back on so many old recipes, it sure made Rob happy! Today my recipe wishlist is at an all time high so I can’t wait to get back into it!

Yesterday I made a Tapas dinner, which is quite challenging for just 2 people to be honest. So it became more of a meal than small bites and I stil have loads left over but it was great nevertheless.

These little meatballs are flavoured with serrano ham, green olives and lemon zest and then cooked in a rich tomato and sherry sauce. Wowie such great flavours! Thanks @chefrickstein for this great little recipe!

I served it with a potato salad dressed in olive oil, vinegar, parsley and spring onions, spicy and garlicky gamba’s al ajillo, some bread to dip up all the juices and a lovely crisp gris rosé wine.

Green Olive & Lemon Albondigas in a Tomato & Sherry Sauce

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Fingerfood, dinner, tapas, lunch Spanish
By Saffron & Rick Stein Serves: 4-6
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 45 minutes Total Time: 1 hour


  • The Sauce
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp pimentón (paprika powder), sweet or hot (I prefer hot)
  • 2 x 400 g canned whole tomatoes
  • 200 ml medium or fino sherry or dry white wine
  • 2 (fresh) bayleaves
  • 200 ml chicken stock
  • Pepper & Salt
  • Pinch of sugar
  • The Meatballs
  • 50g crustless white bread
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 150 g serrano ham
  • 350 g minced pork
  • 350 g minced chicken (see notes)
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 50 g pitted green olives, finely chopped
  • Small bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp pimentón (paprika powder), sweet or hot (I prefer hot)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Pepper & salt


The Sauce


Heat the olive oil in a heavy based sauce pan. Add the onion, garlic and pimentón, fry gently for 10 minutes until translucent and fragrant.


Turn up the heat and deglaze the pan with the sherry or white wine, let bubble for ± 30 seconds.


Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, bay leaves, sugar and season with pepper and salt.


Use the back of a wooden spoon to break down the tomatoes.


Simmer for ± 30 minutes until slightly thickened and reduced. In the meantime make the meatballs.

The Meatballs


Grate the zest of the lemon into a large mixing bowl.


Break the bread into a small bowl and add the lemon juice and 1 tbsp of water. Let soak for 5 minutes.


In the meantime roughly chop the serrano ham and add it to a food processor, pulse until finely chopped, add to the mixing bowl.


Add the olives to the food processor and pulse until finely chopped, add to the mixing bowl.


Lightly squeeze the moisture out of the bread mix, and add to the mixing bowl.


Now also add the minced pork, minced chicken, garlic cloves, parsley, pimentón, pepper and salt to the bowl.


Mix together well with your hands. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan, take a little piece of the meat mixture and fry it until cooked through. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.


Form the mixture into about 40 small tapas-sized meatballs.


Heat olive oil in a frying pan and add enough meatballs to the pan so it doesn't feel over crowded, ± 15 at a time. Fry on all sides until nicely browned all over, ± 3 minutes, they don't have to be cooked through yet.


Remove from the frying pan and drop into the sauce that is bubbling away, turn the het down to a low simmer.


Repeat with the rest of the meatballs and let them simmer for at least 5 minutes in the sauce until cooked through.


Spoon the meatballs and sauce into small shallow dishes, sprinkle with some fresh parsley and serve hot with some cocktail sticks alongside and some bread to soak up the juices.


You could also just use a mix of pork and beef mince if that's easier to find.

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