Almôndegas

These small meatballs are very flavorful and are great served for a small luncheon.


Country: Portugal
Century: 15th



  • 1 lb pork, minced/ground
  • 2 cups broth - beef stock
  • 1/2 tsp clove
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 hard cooked egg yolks
  • wheat flour
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/8 cup cheiro-verde*

Mix cloves, ginger, salt, and ground saffron with pork. Divide pork into individual portions, about an inch in diameter. Flatten meat, and fill with broken up egg yolk. Close the yolk into the meatball. Roll meatballs in wheat flour.

In a small pot, heat broth, butter, and cheiro-verde. Cook meatballs in broth until done, about 10 minutes.

*Cheiro-verde is an herb mixture used in Spanish/Latin cooking. The mixture is still used in modern cooking in these countries. The proportions I noted are based on recipes I found containing the mixture, and can be found in some cookbooks or from online sources.


Original Recipe Sources

Source [ A Treatise of Portuguese Cuisine from the 15th Century, Fernanda Gomes (trans.)]: 24 - Almôndegas. Tomem carne de porco ou de carneiro muito gordo, sem ossos, e piquem-na bem miudinha, temperando-a com sal,  cravo,  açafrão e gengibre. Façam as bolas de carne, recheiem-nas com uma gema cozida, passando-as em seguida pela farinha de trigo.   Numa panela com manteiga bem quente ou, se preferirem, manteiga e caldo gordo de carneiro, lancem um amarrado de  cheiro-verde, e coloquem ali as almôndegas. Tampem a panela e tenham o cuidado de mexer as almôndegas de vez em quando,  evitando que se partam.  Sirvam com bastante molho. Se este for pouco, ajuntem às almôndegas o caldo de outras panelas.

Hazelnuts (meat balls). Take very fat pork or mutton, boneless, and mince it very finely, seasoning it with salt, cloves, saffron and ginger. Make it into meatballs, fill them with a cooked egg yolk, rolling them afterwards in wheat flour. In a pot with very hot butter or, if you prefer, butter and fat mutton broth, add a bunch of cheiro-verde (I'm not familiar with this herb, it literally translates as "green smell"*, and add the "hazelnuts" (meat balls). Close the lid and take care to stir the meatballs once in a while, avoiding breakage. Serve with lots of sauce. If the sauce isn't sufficient, add broth from other pans.


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