True confession: Meatballs are something I more often buy prepared than make and hardly ever at that. I mostly dislike the time consuming and mess making process. cooking them in batches in oil, often ending up with burned bits, falling apart meatballs and a splattered cooktop just does not appeal to me. When I discovered this recipe on the fabulous Hostess At Heart blog, I really wanted to try it. I have college aged sons who devour meatballs and I have been depriving them! To skip the browning step, I tried roasting the meatballs in a 400 F oven on a rack over a drip pan, so they could brown evenly. Why didn’t I think of this years ago? Perfection! The meatballs were moist, nicely flavored with Mexican spices and none fell apart while cooking in the sauce. This method worked! The spicy sauce is just thick enough to nicely coat the meatballs. Enthusiastic requests begging me to make this dish again had this reluctant meatball cook simmering a second batch as fast as I could type this blog post. Who knew there was a meatball queen inside me after all!
Crockpot Mexican Meatballs in Chipotle Sauce with Lime Crema
- 2 lbs of ground meat( beef and pork)
- 1 c plain bread crumbs
- 1/4 c milk( any type will do)
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 t chili powder
- 1 t garlic powder
- 1 t Kosher salt, divided
- 1 t ground cumin, divided
- 1 28oz can of fire roasted tomatoes, diced or crushed
- 1/2 c low sodium, fat free chicken broth
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 t dried Mexican oregano
- 3 chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, chopped finely
- cilantro leaves to garnish
Lime crema: 1/4 c of sour cream or crème fraiche whisked with the juice of 1/2 a lime.
- Preheat oven to 400F
- In a large bowl,, combine meat, bread crumbs, milk, eggs, chili powder, garlic powder, 1/2 t salt, 1/2 t cumin. Roll into tablespoon-sized balls. Yield is about 4 1/2 dozen meatballs. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Rest a cooling rack on top of the cookie sheet and spray with cooking spray. Line your meatballs on the rack nd bake for 10-12 minutes to brown. Of course if you prefer, you can brown the meatballs in oil in a skillet, in batches.
- In the bowl of your crockpot, combine the tomatoes, chipotle peppers, oregano, garlic, broth and remaining salt and cumin. Add the meatballs and coat with the sauce. Cook on high for 3 hours.
- Garnish with the cilantro leaves and serve with crusty rolls or on a tortilla. If using the lime crèma, drizzle over the meatballs first then top with the cilantro. The contrast of cool and spicy was really lovely with the addition of the crema.
Adapted from Hostess at Heart.
The meatballs did not stick to the rack and any excess fat could drip down onto the pan beneath.
Meatballs into the crockpot with the sauce ingredients.
Serving suggestion: meatballs in a crusty roll with a drizzle of lime crèma.
Adjust the amount of chipotle peppers to increase or reduce the heat!