Puerto Rican Albondigas (Meatballs)
Updated: Jul 16
Turkey meatballs are a great healthier alternative to the more traditional beef or pork meatballs. You will be able to eat a ton and not feel guilty at all! This recipe also add the delicious Puerto Rican twist - sofrito, tomato sauce and olives! You can use this for a meatball sub, appetizer or just with a side of rice.
3 lbs ground turkey
2 cups breadcrumbs
1 tbs adobo
1 tbs garlic salt
1 cup minced onion (split in 2)
5 garlic cloves minced
1 tsp dried oregano
2 large eggs
1 ½ cup milk
3 tbs Sofrito
2 tbs green olives
1 ½ cup tomato sauce
1 cup water
Oil for frying
The first step is to prepare the meatballs. We are going to begin by adding the milk to the breadcrumbs. We want to let this sit together for a little bit so the bread absorbs all of the milk.
Then we will season the meat - start by adding the turkey, onions, adobo, garlic, oregano and garlic salt altogether in a large bowl. Using your hands mix it well until you have a homogeneous mixture. Then add the bread, which at this point has absorbed all of the milk, and eggs to the meat mixture and once again combine with your hands.
Now you are ready to form your meatballs. I prefer to form my meatballs by hand. Take about 2 tablespoons of the mixture and using the palm of your hands, scoop it to form a ball. It does not have to be a perfect ball, but try to give it a spheric form. If you prefer to, you could instead use a scoop like a cookie or ice cream scoop. Place the formed meatball on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Continue forming meatballs until you have used all of your mixture. I got about 30 meatballs from this recipe.
Now we will sear the meatballs using a casting iron or a heavy frying pan. Turn on the stove on medium and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, start adding the meatballs, until the bottom of the pan is covered. Make sure to leave space in between the meatballs so you have room to flip them. Once the meatballs are browned on the bottom, flip the meatballs. Be really careful with your meatballs, it is best not to flip them until they are browned and not sticking to the bottom, this will prevent them from breaking apart. Continue this process until all sides of the meatballs are browned, then remove from the pan. Repeat this full searing process as many times as necessary to cook all of your meatballs.
When all of you meatballs are seared, then add the onions, sofrito and olives to the same pan, mixing to combine. We will use the fat from the meatballs to make the sauce. Once the onions are translucent and the water from the sofrito has evaporated, then add the tomato sauce and mix to combine. Let it simmer for 1 -2 minutes and then add the water. Cook for 5 minutes.
We will finish cooking the meatballs in the oven. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large baking tray, line up all of your meatballs. Leave a little bit of space between each of them. Then, once all of your meatballs are in the tray, add the sauce on top of the meatballs.
Cover the baking tray with foil.
Place it in the oven and cook for about 30 - 40 minutes until the meatballs are thoroughly cooked.
Remove the oven and enjoy!
Check out our instructional video, showing how to make this recipe step-by-step HERE.