Albondigas (meatballs) with Mushrooms

Albondigas make an ideal pairing with Garnacha wines and a perfect tapas style appetizer for holidays.

Remember how last week I said from here on out I’d be sharing holiday related recipes? Well, I lied. Though, these albondias would be perfect for a Thanksgiving appetizer, tapas style! For today’s recipe, I’ve partnered with Wines of Garnacha to spread the word about the wonderful wine that is Garnacha/Grenache, which perfectly pairs with the delicious Spanish meatballs I’m sharing with you all today.

Wines of Garnacha

First, a little background on the birthplace and origins of these surprisingly affordable wines, with a price tag of between $10–20. Don’t worry, we won’t tell your guests that you didn’t spend a fortune on your special imported wine.

The Grenache/Garnacha grape has been cultivated in the Spanish regions of Calatayud, Campo de Borja, Cariñena, Somontano and Terra Alta, as well as the Roussillon region of France. The grapes grown in each of these Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) are as different from one another as pinot noir grapes grown in the California’s Santa Lucia Highlands American Viticultural Area (AVA) versus those grown in Oregon’s Willamette Valley AVA. 

Wines produced by the Grenache grape are generally a raspberry or strawberry, fruit-forward wine with white peppery, spicy undertones. Winemakers have many options with this red, pink (gris or gray) or white grape, producing a Grenache blanc, rosé, or a traditional red that tends to be a bit higher in alcohol content when compared to other varietals. 

If you share a concern in regard to sustainability in growing grapes, the Grenache grape thrives in challenging water situations. Its roots burrow deep into the soil, searching out water tables below; the vine isn’t dependent on rainwater to survive. The vine itself adjusts itself quickly to environmental challenges and changes in temperature, and thrives in long growing seasons—making it a perfect Mediterranean wine grape.

Americans are increasingly discovering just how perfect Grenache wines go with the spicy foods so many of us are fond of. There is nothing more heavenly on the palate than to enjoy a nice Grenache with a traditional Spanish seafood paella, or a smoky BBQ tri tip. Always think Grenache when serving foods spiced with thyme, tarragon, garlic, chives and fennel, or grilled meats. Your palate will thank you, and your meal will be all the more memorable.

Albondigas make an ideal pairing with Garnacha wines and a perfect tapas style appetizer for holidays.

I’ve grown up hearing stories of my mother’s trip to Spain when she was 15. Yes, it was a long time ago. She confesses to having done plenty of imbibing of Spanish wines, including an afternoon of debauchery in Pamplona during the Festafil of Sn Fermin, downing spicy Spanish wine from a bota bag while sancing in the street. One of her fondest memories include sitting at the Plaza Mayor in Madrid after a day in Spanish language immersion classes, enjoying “red wine” (which in hindsight was no doubt Garnacha) accompanied by albondigas (meatballs in sauce), papatas bravas (potatoes), Banderillas, cold seafood platter including calamari and most exotic—marinated pickled octopus.

Albondigas make an ideal pairing with Garnacha wines and a perfect tapas style appetizer for holidays.

Part of our collection of Grenache wines includes a Banyuls, produces in the aforementioned Roussillon region. This apertif wine was born to be enjoyed with the very best dark chocolate you can get your hands on, and we promise to keep your secret on just how affordable this special dessert wine really is.  

One of my favorite ways to enjoy a new (to me) wine is by cooking with it, and in this instance, Garnacha blanc was an ideal wine to be used. You don’t want a wine that’s too sweet, and definitely not one with any characteristics of oak for this recipe.

If you’d rather serve the albondigas as a main dish instead of an appetizer, they’re tasty with rice and the sauce drizzled over the top.

Albondigas Ingredients and Cooking Method

*you might notice some ingredients listed several times in the cooking method below. These aren't accidental and are needed to prepare the meatballs, sauce, and mushroom topping.

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These tasty meatballs are the perfect addition to any tapas party and make idea appetizers for holiday gatherings.
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 2, lightly beaten large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon grenache blanc
  • 4 tablespoons, minced parsley
  • 1, smashed garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon spicy paprika
  • to taste salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 3, halved tomatos
  • minced, 1/2 cup yellow onion
  • diced, 1/2 cup carrot
  • 6, minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon spicy paprika
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup grenache blanc
  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup, chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 pound, cut into 1 inch pieces mixed mushrooms
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted, add the flour and whisk until thick paste forms and it's turned into a light brick color. Whisk in the milk and continue cooking until it thickens about 3 minutes.While the roux is cooking, add the ground beef, pork, eggs, wine, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper, and parsley. Once the roux is thick and has cooled slightly, add it to the meat mixture and combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours. Form the balls into 1 1/2 inches and dredge them into the flour. In a medium-size saucepan, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil and brown the meatballs in batches until they're brown on the outside and slightly crisp. Set aside.To make the sauce, peel the tomatoes with a grater or with a small paring knife. Throw the skins away and put the tomatoes aside. In the same saucepan used to brown the meatballs, add the garlic, onions and carrots in a bit of oil, until they're soft and starting to brown. Add the tomatoes and spices, and simmer until the liquid is reduced about 5 minutes. Whisk in the flour, wine, and sherry, continuing to simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.Using an immersion blender or food processor, puree the sauce until very smooth. Add the chicken stock. Return to the saucepan and bring to a boil, seasoning as needed.Add the meatballs to the sauce, cover and cook on medium-low heat until the meatballs are cooked through about 20 minutes.In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the grapeseed oil, cooking in batches, add the mushrooms and cook until browned. About 8 minutes.Serve as desired with the sauce and mushrooms poured over the top.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6 servings
Wines of Garnacha