It’s exactly what it sounds like – not to mention a family favorite and a crowd pleaser!
This is a really straightforward and easy dish to make, and you can try some variations too. They can be made in advance and frozen, which is pretty awesome – and only leaves a simple sauce to prepare. If you do freeze them, please make sure to let them completely thaw before you cook them to serve.
Ingredients – for about 4 servings
For the potato meatballs
1/2 to 3/4 pound of mealy potatoes, diced – russet potatoes work very well, but try some others if you’re feeling adventurous – anything you’d bake will be great
1/2 pound of ground beef – again, if you want something different, try it with ground lamb – it’s awesome!
1 onion, chopped quite fine – we use white onions for this
At least 1 tbsp of chopped fresh cilantro – don’t be a cilantro hater – it’s good!
A stalk of celery, chopped very finely
A minimum of 2 crushed garlic cloves – we typically use 3 or more
A couple of tbsps of butter
Salt and pepper to taste – we use quite a bit of both, but adjust it to your preference – you can always season it more after serving
For the sauce
1 onion, chopped really finely
A couple of teaspoons of brown sugar – we use light brown sugar, but any will do
Can of chopped tomatoes
1 chopped green chili – obviously this is what gives the sauce the kick and some additional flavor – you can leave it out if you don’t like spice, but it’s not the same
About a tsp of paprika
About 2/3 of a cup of vegetable stock – please, for the love of all that is good and tasty, use good stock
A couple of tsps of cornstarch
Once you’ve diced the potatoes, cook them in boiling water for about 20-25 minutes – as long as they’re cooked through. Drain them and make sure they’re drained well – mash them in a bowl. Once they’re mashed, add the ground beef (or the delicious lamb, for you adventure-seekers), the garlic, the celery, the onion and the cilantro. If you don’t add the cilantro here, you are excused and may leave the room. Mix this up well, and then roll the mixture in your hands into potato meatballs! If you follow this recipe, you’ll get about 25 potato meatballs.
At this point, you can start the sauce – heat up some oil in a pan (use vegetable oil, no more than a tbsp or so) and sauté the chopped onion. It won’t take more than 5 minutes – after that, you can add the rest of the sauce ingredients and bring the whole shebang to a boil. Keep stirring it while it comes to a boil, and then drop the heat to a simmer and let it sit for 20 minutes to simmer. No real need to keep stirring during this time, and you don’t have to cover it.
Back to the potato meatballs – heat up the butter and about a tbsp of oil in a good skillet. Add the potato meatballs in batches, to fill the skillet, and cook them for a good 10-15 minutes – obviously you’re browning them and I’d say turn them quite often during the process. As they finish, make sure you keep them warm – either in the oven or covered – while you do the next batch(es).
That’s it! When they’re done, we usually put them in a big, shallow dish as you can see in my picture – pour the sauce around them, and you’re good to go! We absolutely love cilantro, so we also top it off with some cilantro garnish, which looks great and adds more flavor. Remember – don’t be a cilantro-hater. Cilantro is one of the ways we will achieve world peace.
In terms of variations, you can definitely add an egg to the meatball mixture before mixing it up – this will bind the mixture better during cooking, and when serving. Frankly, we don’t care and it’s all going to fall apart nicely as you’re eating anyway. Totally up to you on this one.
If you like cheese, we do like to add grated mozzarella cheese on top, and just broil it really quickly to melt the cheese – it gives it a little bit of gooey-ness when you’re serving it, and adds to the taste. For lack of alternatives in the fridge, we actually tried Swiss cheese on top one time, and it was really tasty – believe it or not.
Finally, we typically head out to our herb garden and grab some fresh thyme, fresh basil and chives – we sprinkle them, chopped, on top just before serving it. Have some fun with fresh herbs – you can head in several different taste directions with this recipe.
We have tried numerous hot sauces with this dish – they all work! Obviously adjust salt and pepper to taste while cooking, and then when eating.
As I mentioned, you can prepare the potato meatballs in advance, and throw them in the fridge or you can freeze them. The sauce is so easy and quick that there is no need to make it in advance.
Our kids love this dish, and so do their friends. If you have picky eaters, you might choose to forgo the chili, as it might be too much kick for them. Also, you can tell them it’s meatballs and spaghetti sauce, if new and adventurous things throw your kids or their guests off. That way they typically dig in, and just comment that they’re really good meatballs. And you can smile to yourself.
Hope you enjoy the potato meatballs – they’re exactly what they sound like, and they taste even better. As always, if you try other variations, please be kind enough to share them in the comments – we’re always looking for new ways to try old favorites.
If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, feel free to share it, and feel free to browse our other recipes under the food tab on my blog.