Spicy Mexican Meatballs with Corn in Chipotle Sauce

Spicy Mexican Meatballs with Corn in Chipotle Sauce

When it comes to heat, Americans have truly embraced higher levels on the Scoville scale. Jalapeños are now as common as bell peppers.

As Tex-Mex food continues to capture an even greater audience across the country and even abroad, smoke-dried jalapeños, or chipotles, have come into their own. The chiles are typically canned whole and packed in adobo sauce, but a pureed form is also available.

Chipotles are a natural seasoning for the sauce served with these Mexican meatballs. These flavorful appetizers in a chipotle-tomato sauce are enlivened with corn kernels, tortilla chips, herbs, and spices.

See other related recipes in Bites of Bliss.

Yield: 20 meatballs
Prep time: about 40 minutes
Shelf life: Several days when refrigerated in the sauce

Ingredients

Non-stick vegetable spray
⅓ cup finely crushed tortilla chips
¼ cup finely chopped onion, plus 1/2 cup chopped onion for the sauce
½ tablespoon finely chopped garlic, plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic for the sauce
3 tablespoons grated cotija cheese, plus cotija cheese to garnish the meatballs
7 ounces each ground beef and ground pork
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup canned or defrosted corn kernels
1 tablespoon canola or other vegetable oil
1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon minced canned chipotle in adobo
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
Chopped cilantro leaves, to garnish

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a jellyroll pan with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick vegetable spray.
  2. In the jar of a food processor, combine the tortilla chips, 1/4 cup onion, 1/2 tablespoon garlic, and 3 tablespoons cotija cheese; pulse to blend. Add the beef and pork, egg, Worcestershire sauce, cumin, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste; pulse to blend. Add the corn and pulse to blend. Roll the mixture into 1-ounce balls and place them on the pan. Bake until just cooked through, 13 to 15 minutes.
  3. While the meatballs bake, heat the oil in a large skillet. Sauté the remaining 1/2 cup of onion until limp, stir in the remaining garlic, and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes, chipotle, and about 1/4 cup of water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to the sauce and simmer until heated through. Serve garnished with the remaining cheese and cilantro.