These tiny Spanish Mini Meatballs in Saffron Sauce will surely enhance your next party! Everyone loves these mini meatballs with saffron and will beg you to make more “next” time.
Excellent to serve at your next casual Tapa Party. Now, you say “What is a Tapa Party?” It is where you serve Spanish snacks, canapes, and/or finger foods to your guests. The tapas can be cold or warm, your choice. Did you know that tapas are served in every bar and cafe in Spain? In Spain, just order a drink and you will then get free tapas. Read about What’s Cooking America’s Travels in Andalusia, Spain as we travelled in southwest Spain visiting a variety of cities and enjoying wonderful hospitality, cuisine, and weather.
Saffron is the stigma of the crocus flower, which originally came from Asia Minor. Saffron is called “zafran” in Spanish. Today almost three-quarters of the world’s production of saffron is grown in Spain, specifically in the region of Castilla-La Mancha. Spanish saffron is prized for its high quality, and commands twice the price of saffron produced in Iran.
Please check out my Spanish Paella Dinner Menu (with recipes) using this delicious Spanish Mini Meatballs in Saffron Sauce.
- 1 1/2-inch thick slice French bread, crust removed
- 8 ounces ground pork
- 8 ounces ground veal
- 4 tablespoons Italian parsley, fresh, chopped, divided
- 2 garlic cloves, minced, divided
- 1 large egg, beaten to blend
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground
- Flour, all-purpose
- 1/4 cup olive oil, extra-virgin
- 1/4 cup onion, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
- 1 cup (or more) chicken broth (reduced salt)
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled*
In a small bowl, soak French bread in water 3 minutes and then squeeze dry.
In a large bowl, mix together pork, veal, 1 tablespoon parsley, 1 clove minced garlic, egg, soaked bread, salt, and pepper to blend. Shape meat mixture into 1-inch balls. Dust meatballs with flour. Set aside.
Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add meatballs and saute until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer meatballs to plate.
Add onion to skillet; reduce heat to medium and saute until tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in paprika, chicken broth, and wine.
Return meatballs with any accumulated juices to skillet; bring to simmer. Cover and cook until meatballs are tender, about 25 minutes. Uncover and add 2 tablespoons parsley, remaining minced garlic, and saffron. Simmer until sauce thickens, turning meatballs occasionally, about 10 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly, then cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer, thinning with broth if necessary.
Place meatballs with sauce on platter to serve. Top with remaining 1 tablespoon parsley.
Makes approximately 32 mini meatballs.
* To purchase Saffron for your cooking needs, click on the underlined. Pure saffron is made up of tiny, bright-red threads. The redder the saffron, the higher the quality. The tips of the threads should be a slightly lighter orange-red color. This will show that it is not cheap saffron that has been tinted red to look expensive.
Spanish saffron is divided into grades. Names to look for are coupe, superior, La Mancha, or Rio. Coupe is the top of the line and it has the least flavorless yellow stem and the highest amount of crocin, one of the key essential oils in saffron.
Beware of bunk saffron. Saffron will always be expensive. If you see a packet of a couple ounces of saffron for just a few dollars, just put it back. Real saffron is VERY expensive and you only need a tiny bit when cooking. Do not fall for cheap saffron, as you will always get what you pay for!
Source: Recipe from the cookbook, Tapas – The little Dishes of Spain, by Penelope Casas.