Sherry Tapas Meatballs

There is no way the photo does these Sherry Meatballs justice! My dinner companions wanted to drink the sauce that was left over after we ate the meatballs.

We didn’t let them… we saved it and poured what was left over fried eggs in the morning and that was delicious too!

I am on a bit of a tapas kick this summer after I did the Rioja Tasting and Tapas post.  We were having another Tapas party and I wanted to try something different so I adapted this recipe for  Albondigas from  

I switched up the ingredients for what I had and add the sherry flambé to amp up the Spanish aspect.

OMG…no kidding…these are delicious.  Don’t let the garlic scare you off -it blends with the meat and the sauce.


Chilling the meatballs allow them to firm up a bit.  When you brown them make sure the oil is hot when you add them to the pan.  Don’t be too quick to move them around or they will break apart.  Turn gently with tongs after the bottom side is fully browned.

After all sides have been browned, add the sherry to the pan and have a BBQ lighter (with the long hose for the flame) handy.  Quickly light the lighter and hold it just above where you poured the sherry.  Be careful not to  immerse the end in the liquid. Shake the pan and allow the flames to die down naturally as the alcohol burns off.

This step is optional but it does lend a lovely layer of flavour- so I’m not skipping it!


After the meatballs are browned transfer them to the skillet with the sauce to allow them to finish cooking.



Let them simmer until they are fully cooked.  You can make these ahead (said the Queen of Make Ahead….)!  They are delicious when first cooked but they do not lose anything overnight.  The flavours may actually meld a bit more even.

We enjoyed these with Burgo Viejo Crianza 2013 LCBO #168815 released July 22, 2017.  It is a real steal at $15.95.  It was very smooth on the palate, fruity with hints of tobacco and leather.

Sherry Meatballs in a frying pan with tomato sauce

Spanish Tapas Meatballs

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Course: Appetizer, Main Dish
Cuisine: Spanish
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 20 mins
Servings: 30 meatballs



  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 lb mild italian sausage (casing removed)
  • 1 onion diced finely
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 slice white bread soaked in milk
  • 3/4 cup fine bread crumbs
  • 3 Tbsps dry sherry


  • 3 Tbsps olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste (or ketchup)
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste



  • Mix the beef and sausage thoroughly in a bowl. When meats are evenly mixed add in garlic, onion, salt and pepper. Tear bread into small pieces and mix into the meat.
  • Use a 1 Tbsp measure and form meat mixture into evenly sized meatballs. Lay meatballs out on a tray and refrigerate 30 minutes. While meatballs are chilling prepare sauce below.
  • Remove meatballs from fridge and roll in bread crumbs.
  • Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a skillet over medium high. Brown meatballs in hot oil in a single layer, turning them as each side browns. This will take about 5 minutes per skillet. Do not crowd them. I needed three batches based on the size of my skillet. When browned add 1 Tbsp sherry and light the sherry with a lighter. Shake pan until flames subside. Repeat browning using 1 Tbsp oil and 1 Tbsp sherry for each skillet-full.
  • After flambéing meatballs, transfer them to the skillet with the tomato sauce and allow them to simmer over low heat while you brown remainder of meatballs. Scrape all the juices and bits in the skillet into the sauce with the last batch of meatballs.


  • Slice tomatoes in half horizontally. Using a box grater over a bowl grate the cut side of the tomato until all the pulp and juice is in the bowl and you are left with just the skin. Discard the skins.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet. Skillet should be large enough to hold the sauce and all the meatballs at the end.
  • Add garlic and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add tomato pulp, paste spices and sugar. Stir and simmer about 8-10-minutes. Keep skillet on a burner beside the skillet you are using to brown the meatballs. As the meatballs brown you will add them to this skillet. Allow mixture to simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes after last batch of meatballs are added.
  • Taste sauce and adjust seasoning to taste.

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