Chipotle Meatballs - El Naranjo Restaurant, Oaxaca, Mexico

Total Time
Prep 15 mins
Cook 20 mins

These meatballs are flavored with chipotle chiles and capers. At the restaurant they are served over rice. I prefer serving the meatballs alone as cocktail appetizers. They might also be good used for a meatball sandwich. Published in Bon Appetit, May 2003.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Puree first 5 ingredients in blender in batches until almost smooth. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add tomato mixture. Cover and boil 10 minutes to blend flavors and thicken slightly, stirring occasionally. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.).
  2. Combine ground beef and next 6 ingredients in large bowl. Add 1/2 cup cooled tomato sauce and stir until well mixed. Using hands, form 1 rounded tablespoonful meat mixture into ball. Optional: Insert 1/4 t. capers into center of meat; reshape meatball. Repeat with remaining meat mixture and capers.
  3. Bring sauce to simmer over medium heat. Add meatballs to sauce. Cover and simmer until meatballs are cooked through, about 20 minutes.
Most Helpful

These were very good, a nice change from Italian meatballs. I served them over brown rice. I used canned crushed tomatoes which worked perfectly. Thanks Swissms.

puppitypup January 01, 2010

I made a mistake with this recipe, but am not downgrading for it. And hopefully my story will prevent someone else from making the same mistake. :) I looked all over the 10 types of tomatoes at the grocery store but none were signed, "Plum Tomatoes". I really wanted to use the Romas, as that's my preferred tomato for just about everything, but 3 lbs seemed like an awful lot of them & I was shopping with a toddler who taste tests everything she can reach in the produce section. So I chose the bigger tomatoes that people generally use on hamburgers & removed as much of the seeds as I could. After dinner I sat down at the computer to research tomatoes & found that the Roma would have been the perfect choice for this recipe. I used my food processor and the slicing tomatoes (as I now know they're called) created a very watery, unflavorful sauce that had a strange texture. Very fine dices but never pureed, like I'd expected them to. Chipotle chiles are a favorite flavor of ours & we loved it in the meatballs & the sauce. I'd like to try this recipe again in the future with the Roma tomatoes as I'm sure there will be a huge difference in flavor as well as the texture. Thanks for posting, swissms! :) Made for New Kids on the Block tag game.

**Tinkerbell** July 13, 2009