If you’ve read my blog over the years (which some of you have and I’m very grateful!) I have issues deeming something an ‘authentic’ recipe, when it is nothing of the sort.
This stew has nothing authentically Mexican about it. There’s my disclaimer and I can’t help myself.
As a food writer, I often get quite embarrassed at how wiling I am to sacrifice authenticity for convenience and I am deeply apologetic for it. However there are some flavour pairings that I just can’t deny myself regardless of how much I simplify the original recipe.
So this here is my Mexican inspired Meatball Stew that has nothing authentically Mexican about it other than some flavours you’d typically find in some Mexican food.
How about that?
I’m quite happy with this recipe being on standby for me as the majority of its body is built up from cans of goodies in my store cupboard. Short of some vegetables and of course, a life saving pack of sausages, the recipe mostly calls for ingredients you can grab from your very local supermarket.
Smoky, spicy, sweet in some places… this stew will get you out of a plethora of culinary troubles.
Get yourself a pack of sausages and depending on how many you’re cooking for, you will need about two sausages per person. One sausage is going to give you about four small meatballs, so go on the basis everyone is greedy like me and wants 8 small meatballs.
When you get your sausages, I’m not going to dictate to you which variety to buy – all I will say is that we’re going to flavour these sausages so no funny sausages please. I might excuse sausages specked with onion but that’s as far as I will allow.
Slip the sausage meat out of the skins and plonk the meat into a bowl. Add a teaspoon of cumin, paprika, salt and some black pepper. Add a few shakes of chipotle sauce and mix everything together.
Using the palms of your hands, take teaspoon size dollops of the meat and roll into small, pert meatballs. Put them on a plate or a chopping board to one side.
In a big frying pan that comes with a lid, heat up some olive oil and throw in a finely chopped white onion and some garlic. Add a little salt and cook on a medium heat until the onions lose their raw colour.
Remove the onions from the pan and whack up the heat a little.
Now fry up the meatballs! You’re looking to brown them slightly but you don’t want to overcrowd your pan as this will release liquid and the balls will braise as opposed to brown. I’d say batches of 6 – 8 balls will be fine for this. We’re only browning the edges at this point, not cooking them through as they will cook in liquid later on, don’t get too hung up on cooking them for a long time.
Once your balls are browned, add the onions/garlic back to the pan. Throw in a little scattering of cumin and oregano before pouring in a can of drained kidney beans.
To this, add a cup of drained sweetcorn. The reason I say a cup and not a can is because sometimes sweetcorn comes in that big ass can? And you don’t want the full thing. Just about ¾ of a mug full will be fine.
Now pour in a can of chopped tomatoes, a small splash of water and a few shakes more of the chipotle sauce. Gently stir everything together and bring the tomato liquid to a boil. Once bubbling, turn it down to a gentle simmer, clamp on a lid and allow to cook for about 15/20 minutes to make sure the balls are cooked through.
This makes sure the balls are still moist and juicy to the bite but the browning earlier means they still retain an element of crispy exterior. The perfect meatball.
After the time is up, stir everything once more sprinkle with coriander and serve the damn thing.
I like mine with nothing more than a spoon and some extra chipotle sauce, but I will absolutely not judge you for enjoying this with some lime flecked rice. Or even some crusty, buttered bread.
There’s no bad way to enjoy meatballs.