Albóndigas de res (Dominican meatballs)

Albóndigas de res (Dominican meatballs)

Growing up I thought that nearly everybody made meatballs the same way we did, and although it’s not like I’ve become an expert on meatballs (or anything for that matter), I have found out that our meatballs are uniquely ours.

Thanks to the Viking superstore, masses of Dominicans have tried the world-famous Swedish ones, and yet I suspect that nobody is going to adopt them at home. This simple dish, like everything we cook, reflects our preferences for certain flavors.

Albóndigas de res (Dominican meatballs)

In our home,  a balance coexists between two cultures. OK, it’s not exactly balanced: when it comes to cooking the Dominican side of our family weighs more, not that I hear anyone complaining. While my daughter and husband are big fans of the Danish frikadeller, the pan-fried pork-based, flattened meatball (is it a meatball if it is not round?), they also seem to like the Dominican ones just as well.

So here is the Dominican version. If you’ve never tried it, do so and see how it compares to your own version.

Cook some Dominican meatballs (ours are round!).

Albóndigas de res (Dominican meatballs)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Nearly every country seems to have a version of meatballs, but Dominicans albóndigas are something else. You gotta try this.
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup day-old fine breadcrumbs
  • 1 small onion, cut into strips
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • ¼ cups of pitted olives, sliced
  • 1 small onion, diced or grated
  • 6 tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • ½ cup of tomato sauce
  • 1 pepper, cut into strips
  • 4 tablespoons of oil
  • Oregano powder
  • Pepper
  • Salt
Instructions
  1. Mix meat, breadcrumbs, garlic and the grated onion. Add the egg, a teaspoon of salt and a pinch of pepper and a pinch of oregano. Mix well with your hands.
  2. Put two tablespoons of this mixture in the palm of your hand and roll into balls.
  3. In a heavy saucepan heat the oil over high heat and brown the meatballs all around.
  4. Add the onions, tomatoes, tomato sauce, olives and the pepper cut into strips and cook and stir for 30 seconds. Add 1.5 cups of water.
  5. Lower the heat to medium and simmer until the meatballs are cooked throughout (about 10 mins), turning them regularly.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste and adjust water if necessary (you should obtain a cup of sauce with the meatballs).
  7. Serve with rice of your choice.
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{ 23 comments… add one }

  • Caroline April 5, 2014, 7:05 AM

    I just made this last night and they were delicious. My mom approved and her dominican meatballs are amazing. I’m so glad I found this website!!! :)

  • tasia January 1, 2014, 9:16 PM

    Thanx Aunt Clara! I LOVE all things dominican. I’m in love with the culture. I’ve searched high and low for dominican recipes, and finally I’ve found your cookbook! Your the best. Gracias

  • Jenny April 13, 2013, 2:19 PM

    Thank you! :)

  • nicole de rosario December 11, 2012, 12:29 AM

    I made this recipe tonight. It was quick and soooo easy. Of course I didn’t follow it to the letter but I used what I had in the cupboard. My husband is from San Pedro de Macoris and he marvelled – I hadn’t made him meatballs up until now and he licked the plate!! He said he had no idea that I knew how to make them…

    My background is from the British Caribbean and my pantry reflects that, but I always manage to make my food with that Dominican flavour. I used this receipe as a base and I put a splash of worscestershire sauce, a dash of hot sauce and 1 tbsp bbq sauce (this would have been ketchup but we had none) in the meatball mix. Instead of plain salt I used Lawry’s seasoned salt.

    for the sauce, I didn’t have enough fresh tomatoes so I used a tin of spaghetti sauce instead and added a fistful of chopped cilantro and half a rib of celery chopped fine – this along with the olives in the recipe imparted that classic Dominican flavour and I didn’t have to add salt to the sauce.

    HE LOVED IT – even though this turned into my own version of the recipe, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without this site. Thank you so much!

    • Aunt Clara December 11, 2012, 8:07 AM

      Thanks! That’s the way we Dominicans cook, whatever we find in our fridge. I love that you were able to adapt it to your liking.

    • Liz July 22, 2013, 6:14 PM

      Wow! Thank you for the recipe. Am planning my wedding with almost no budget because of recent family emergencies.

      Postponed the date, and decided I will cater my own reception. That brought me to search for easy and budget-conscious Dominican recipes which I want to use for the Dutch, Italian, and Polish friends and in-laws-to-be.

      Since my mom and family can’t attend, the menu will help me honor them, and feel a little connection to them.

      Any good ideas for Dominican side dishes? I am going to add some Polish and Italians dishes too.

      The reception is for about 50 or 60 people.

    • Liz July 22, 2013, 6:21 PM

      Wow! Thank you for the recipe. What kind of spaghetti sauce would be good?

      Am planning my wedding with almost no budget because of recent family emergencies.

      Postponed the date, and decided I will cater my own reception. That brought me to search for easy and budget-conscious Dominican recipes which I want to use for the Dutch, Italian, and Polish friends and in-laws-to-be.

      Since my mom and family can’t attend, the menu will help me honor them, and feel a little connection to them.

      Any good ideas for Dominican side dishes? I am going to add some Polish and Italians dishes too.

      The reception is for about 50 or 60 people.

  • Mary June 7, 2012, 5:39 PM

    Why are people being so rude on these sites. If it bothers u so much make your own sheesh!
    Love, love, love the recipe though :).

    • Evelyn January 4, 2013, 12:46 AM

      Well, the chef wants people’s opinion so there you have it.

  • Yasmin October 28, 2011, 9:08 AM

    Hola!

    I'm in the middle of making this recipe (very excited about it!!), but I noticed that you mentioned having some pitted olives – but then it's not in the preparation… is it added to the pan with the onions and peppers? Or just garnished later on? Thank you and God bless!!

    Yasmin

  • John October 27, 2011, 10:59 AM

    Clara what I dont understand love is why didn't you make the book in spanish first and why haven't you….why only in english . This is dominican cooking, you are Dominican and dominicans and latin americans what do they speak SPANISH….why didn't you makew it in both languages?

    • Claudia X November 6, 2011, 3:29 PM

      I believe it's to aware non-spanish speaking people to acknowledge and enjoy Dominican foods :)

    • Alissa December 31, 2011, 7:01 AM

      For those of us who are American but are married to Dominicans and have been learning the cooking we need the English version. While I can speak some, read some I am not good at it yet at all. I reference Aunt Clara's website for many reasons and love that I can cook for my husband and family Dominican style :)

  • Ash May 19, 2011, 10:35 AM

    I agree, vs. being rude, why dont u just try and help out and tell us how u make it, that way we can adjust the recipe as we feel needed. I think clara's recipe is pretty on point, but every family has their own little touch.

  • fausto412 May 3, 2011, 8:27 AM

    To "the final authority on all things Dominican" I say…you don't have to be so rude. Clara is trying to help people. If you have a different take please share it but the "It seems to me you have no clue how Dominicans cook." is unnecessary.

    Dominicans all cook different. My mother used to cook one way in Dominican Republic and another in New York City and when she visits me in Texas. She finds different ways to arrive at the same result. Some products found in Dominican Republic can't be found here in every state. Clara gives us one take, you don't have to knock it. I usually use Clara's recipe's to help me, I call my mom on the phone and adjust as needed to get to what she makes because all i am after is that home cooked taste i grew up with.

  • Aunt Clara April 28, 2011, 4:50 PM

    I am so glad we finally got to hear from the final authority on all things Dominican. Thank you very much.

  • yovanni estrella April 28, 2011, 4:23 PM

    It seems to me you have no clue how Dominicans cook. You did not mention 1 spice they use in their food. For example, Dominicans would have put adobo, sofrito, and sazon into this recipe. This looks a nice basic meatball recipe for Americans but Dominicans would definitely not enjoy this meal.

    • Mary June 7, 2012, 5:37 PM

      TRUE Dominicans don't use adobo! Correct yourself.

  • Lino April 15, 2011, 11:13 AM

    you are the best aunt Clara. i am going to prepare this for dinner, with white rice and green beans. Love you aunt,. thanks for keeping the culture going.

  • Amity March 1, 2011, 2:01 PM

    I add breadcrumbs, egg, Worcestershire sauce, diced onion, pepper, salt…sometimes will dice artichoke hearts.

    Hmm and I also sometimes add Parmesan cheese! The dry kind.

    And bake them….

  • Mari's Cakes March 1, 2011, 9:49 AM

    I love meatballs. These look delicious. Great photos Clara :)