Meatballs in Guajillo Sauce

Meatballs in Guajillo Sauce
Print Recipe
6 to 8 servings Albóndigas con Salsa de Guajillo
Ingredients
  • 6 guajillo chiles stemmed and seeded
  • 2 pounds tomatillos husked and rinsed
  • 3 garlic cloves peeled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt divided, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons canola or safflower oil
  • 1 1/4 cups finely chopped onion divided
  • 2 pounds ground turkey breast
  • 1/2 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 sprigs of fresh epazote or cilantro sprigs, or substitute 4 dried leaves
To Prepare
  • Heat a casserole over medium-high heat. Once hot, toast the guajillo chiles, turning often, until toasted deeply browned and you can smell the chile fumes, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatillos and garlic, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until the tomatillos are thoroughly cooked, their color has changed from a bright green to olive, and the guajillos have plumped up and rehydrated, about 12 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatillos, garlic, chiles and 1/2 cup cooking liquid to a blender. Allow to cool slightly, add 1 teaspoon salt and puree until completely smooth. Drain the water from the casserole or soup pot, rinse and dry, and return to the stove.
  • Add the oil and heat over medium heat. Once hot, add 1 cup of the chopped onion and cook until tender and the edges have just begun to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatillo puree, cover partially as the thick sauce will splash and splutter, and simmer for about 7 to 8 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and darkened.
  • Meanwhile combine the ground turkey with the breadcrumbs, egg, remaining 1/4 cup onion, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Mix together well.
  • When the tomatillo puree has cooked down stir in the broth, scraping the bottom and sides of the casserole to incorporate any sauce sticking to the bottom and sides of the pan.
  • Place the ground turkey mixture and a small bowl of water next to the casserole. Wet your hands, and start shaping the turkey into approximately 1 1/2-inch balls. Gently drop the balls into the sauce as you form them. When all the meatballs have been added to the sauce, add the sprigs of epazote or cilantro and simmer over medium heat, uncovered, for 35 minutes. Serve.
Ingredients
  • 6 guajillo chiles stemmed and seeded
  • 2 pounds tomatillos husked and rinsed
  • 3 garlic cloves peeled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt divided, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons canola or safflower oil
  • 1 1/4 cups finely chopped onion divided
  • 2 pounds ground turkey breast
  • 1/2 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 sprigs of fresh epazote or cilantro sprigs, or substitute 4 dried leaves
To Prepare
  • Heat a casserole over medium-high heat. Once hot, toast the guajillo chiles, turning often, until toasted deeply browned and you can smell the chile fumes, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatillos and garlic, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until the tomatillos are thoroughly cooked, their color has changed from a bright green to olive, and the guajillos have plumped up and rehydrated, about 12 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatillos, garlic, chiles and 1/2 cup cooking liquid to a blender. Allow to cool slightly, add 1 teaspoon salt and puree until completely smooth. Drain the water from the casserole or soup pot, rinse and dry, and return to the stove.
  • Add the oil and heat over medium heat. Once hot, add 1 cup of the chopped onion and cook until tender and the edges have just begun to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatillo puree, cover partially as the thick sauce will splash and splutter, and simmer for about 7 to 8 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and darkened.
  • Meanwhile combine the ground turkey with the breadcrumbs, egg, remaining 1/4 cup onion, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Mix together well.
  • When the tomatillo puree has cooked down stir in the broth, scraping the bottom and sides of the casserole to incorporate any sauce sticking to the bottom and sides of the pan.
  • Place the ground turkey mixture and a small bowl of water next to the casserole. Wet your hands, and start shaping the turkey into approximately 1 1/2-inch balls. Gently drop the balls into the sauce as you form them. When all the meatballs have been added to the sauce, add the sprigs of epazote or cilantro and simmer over medium heat, uncovered, for 35 minutes. Serve.

84 comments on “Meatballs in Guajillo Sauce

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  1. hola Pati. mucho gusto sometimes it is so sad not finding ingredients for the recipes even though there are about 100,000 Mexicans here which most are illegal, and only two supermarkets that have Latino products,I have lived from San Diego to Arizona ,Texas and now her in Florida and always loved ,sometimes craved Mexican food, I love it so mucho and I like watching you on television ,you are so fun. keep up the good work, via con Dios

    1. Thanks so much for watching my show Ed. It can be frustrating to not find the ingredients, but the great thing is that they are becoming increasingly available. Talk to your grocers and request the items, the more they hear that their customers want them, the more they will source them!

    1. Oh mine is passed down from my mom…but you can find them all sorts of places, like online, your local kitchen store, Latin Market…and Mexico!

  2. Wow!

    Love these! Tender meatballs and the wonderful sauce. I added a tablespoon of brown sugar to manage the sour. It sent it over the top!

  3. Which Season and Episode did you make this in? I’m making it for the 2nd time (BIG hit the 1st time) and I’d love to watch you on Amazon while I do it.

  4. The sauce was delicious. I did have to substitute ancho chilies because I could not get the guajillos locally. When I served it, some of the meatballs did fall apart, but I didn’t mind that- it made for a nice meaty sauce. We served it on rice, but I was kinda wondering if it would be good with spaghetti or linguini.

  5. Pati. Me again. 😊. Love your show.
    Can I find epazote at a Mexican market? Is it seasonal? Really want to make it like you did

  6. Hi Patti, unfortunately I didn’t finish watching this episode. How do you accompany this delicious Guajillo Meatballs plate? Arroz blanco? tell me, please =-)

  7. I know it pretty much ignores the whole meatball idea, but do you think cooking chicken breast in the sauce and then shredding it would work? Or would you put the shredded chicken in already cooked? Kind of like your chicken tinga? Thanks for your thoughts.

  8. Hi Pati! Do you have to use guajillo chiles or can other types of chiles be used like Colorado? I can’t wait to try this recipe. I love your show! Thanks!

  9. Hi patti is the broth needed. Or can i put a lil bit of water in it .want to try them with ground beef ? Looked really delicious

    1. Of course you can try them with ground beef! Any ground protein will do. You can sub water for broth, but broth will help it have a bit more depth of flavor​.

  10. Delicious recipe. Worth the time and effort of making it. I would cut the recipe in half next time since we are only two people eating this.

  11. I made this recipe of yours on Saturday along with your Chepil Rice. I posted my completed food on FB and had alot of people saying they were coming over! Nobody made it, but there is still tonight. I love, love, love your programs.

    Thank you

    1. ​Hi Marty! There is supposed to be an acid taste because tomatillos are acid. But they shouldn’t be overwhelmingly acid, if they are, that means that they were either unripe or past their prime. ​

  12. i wish that i could spend a day with you cooking and visiting, your recipes ALWAYS turn out. The ingredients are easy to find here in OK and that makes a big difference. You are so fun to watch and my husband and i enjoy your show every chance that we get. Best wishes for a future that is as sunny as you!

    1. I’m so happy to hear that the recipes always turn out and the ingredients are easy for you to find Juliann! I hope you continue to enjoy the show and new recipes!

  13. my wife and i are in the process of making this recipe and we are using ground vinison
    smells very good in our home.Also we love your show.

  14. Hi Patti….where does one find guallio dried chili’s and espizote? I live on Whidbey Island, WA. We are heading off to the mainland tomorrow and I only know of a couple of Mexican stores in Mt. Vernon. I know you said you can substitute w/cilantro and oh, and I can easily find Ancho dried chili’s. Also, do you suggest long grain or pearl rice.

    1. Try your local latin or international market…or even online for the dried chiles. It depends on the dish but for the rice I make with these meatballs (Arroz con Chepil) I recommend long grain rice. Have fun on the mainland!

  15. Sauce came out very nicely. I thought the meatballs were hard, however. If I made again, I would use beef instead of turkey breast. Or maybe just plain ground turkey with more fat in it. But the recipe taught me a valuable new technique — cooking with dried peppers and tomatillos. Thanks!

    1. Hi Hugh, I made this last month and the meatballs were very tender. You may have worked the meat too much. I would try it again with turkey but work the meat as little as possible. Good luck!
      Pati, I love this recipe and want to make a large batch to take to work for 33 people next time we have a pot luck 🙂

  16. Hey Pati: In a word, Delicious! Took a bit to round up the ingredients in northeast Ohio, but well worth the effort! And the complimentary chepil (we used cilantro) rice dish completed the meal. Great show! Thanks

  17. Hi Pati: Here is something to try? After we ate the meat balls, there was a nice amount of sauce left, so my wife took a 7.05 La Moderna Vermicelli Pasta noodles, boiled them, and than mixed with the sauce! Try it, it’s VERY good and filling! Take care, and Happy New Years.

  18. Hola Pati,
    Que orgullo aprender de tus deliciousas recetas! Eres una inspiracion al conocer la autentica cocina Mexicana. Muchisimas Gracias! Esta receta deliciousa, mi Esposo facinado con todos los diferentes sabores. Delish! Sige dandonos mas!! Ole!

  19. Hello Pati! We watched all your episodes and this is the first one we made! Just finished, and it was VERY good, and filling. Keep up the good work, and we really enjoy watching your shows! Merry Christmas! Patrick & Denise Kelly

  20. Hi, Pati.

    Rather than meatballs, would chicken thighs be appropriate? I assume they’d be cooked in the sauce for about the same amount of time. Please advise. Thank you.

  21. I made this recipe for a family birthday. 2 batches, one with ground beef, one with turkey. I was a little concerned about the spicyness of the dried Chiles. I got 2 brands of the same type Chile. Surprisingly, one was bland and the other was so spicy I used 4 instead of 6 pods. The dish was a hit. I like the tartness the tomatillos give the sauce and will use them more often now. I also made the chapil rice, although I couldn’t find the herb. I used the left over sauce and meatballs to make a vegetable, bean soup. Thanks Pati. I love your show.

    1. ​Hola! Se agrega el caldo como 7 u 8 minutos después de que el pure de tomatillo se halla guisado y espesado un poquito. ​

  22. I made this recipe last Sunday and my family loved it. It’s easy to make. I actually strained the sauce before adding to the meatballs to make it silkier. Thanks Pati for such flavorful and delicious recipes!!

  23. I tried this for my Weight Watchers meeting and it was a hit. Busco recetas con menos calorías y esta receta es perfecta. Gracias

  24. Yummmmmm!
    This is going to be dinner for our family tomorrow. I let my kids stay up 30 extra minutes tonight and they cuddled up next to me to watch your show with me.
    What a treat that was to watch with my kiddos, we loved your show. We homeschool so this is going to be incorporated into tomorrow’s lessons.
    I’m glad I stumbled upon your cooking show. Thanks!

    1. I’m so glad you stumbled on the show too…and I’m happy that the recipe will part of your lesson and that the show is part of family time!

  25. wonderful dish!!! We had this today and can’t wait to make it again along with the rice and salad. Thank you for the recipe! the ground turkey and guajillo Chile was flavorful and spicy. recommend for every one.

  26. Hello Pati. I just finished cooking the meatballs and the sauce is delicious. Haven’t tasted the meatballs since I don’t like turkey at all but my family does. I added cilantro instead of epazote and a teaspoon of chicken bouillon. Next time I will make them with ground beef. Thanks for sharing your recipes.

  27. I’ve made albondigas forever but these almost came apart without the rice to bind. I might still use rice instead of egg to bind them and a little of the guajillo sauce in the meat so they don’t look to white when you cut them. Thank you it was delicious, I’ve almost forgotten how to make the guajillo sauce. Thank you

  28. Hi Pati!
    I made these meatballs last night. They were amazing!! I substituted some fresh venison, and added 3 extra garlic cloves. The ground venison and spicy sauce complimented eachother soooo well.

    My wife is Mexican, from Guanajuato, and we absolutely love your show. We both share a passion for cooking, and I’m sure this was just the first of many of your recipes that We’ll try together. We’re planning to make the Almond Chocolate Leche Cake, tomorrow…. We’ll let You know how it turns out

  29. im sorry ms. patti, u lost me at ground turkey– could i substitute with another kind of meat? i luv meatballs and ur chile

  30. We saw your cooking meat balls, and they look so good, so I printed your recipe, but I must ask you what is epazote? I sort of miss that, again thank you so much for all the recipes that you share.