Please Pass the Recipe

sharing recipes from one generation to the next

Mum’s Mexican Meatballs


This is another dish of my Mum’s from the late 1960s. Casserole cookery was all the rage then, it was a new and innovative method of cooking the entire meal in one dish in the oven. Splayds (a sharp edged spoon) and sporks (a spoon with tines at the tip) were subsequently invented so you could easily eat with just one hand while  sitting in front of the TV, or standing at a buffet party.

Mum generally chose to make casserole recipes when she entertained. She’d do all the preparation work well ahead of time, then gently reheat the casseroles in the oven.  Sadly most of Mum’s casserole recipes have dated badly, at least to my taste. They are all flavoured with commercial soup mixes, a large proportion of them with tomato soup and this recipe in it’s original form is no exception.

I’ve used chorizo instead of bacon and crushed tomatoes and tomato concentrate instead of soup. I also added some herbs, spices and chilli to enhance the complexity of the flavour. Unfortunately  I overlooked the fact that even par cooked pasta would be over cooked after an hour in the oven so in the future I will cook it at the last minute and then spoon the meatballs and sauce over the pasta into a serving bowl, or forego the pasta altogether.

Mum’s Mexican Meatballs was a blast from the past, an enjoyable family meal despite the over cooked pasta.

500g minced steak
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
60g chorizo, minced
1 red onion, diced
1/2 green pepper, cut into 1cm dice
1/2 red capsicum, cut into 1cm dice
400g can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon tomato concentrate
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chilli
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, sugar
125g macaroni par cooked
Pre heat the oven to 160C
Par boil the pasta for 3/4 of the manufacturers recomended cooking time. Drain then refresh in iced water. Oil a deep casserole dish, then tip in the pasta so it covers the base.
Season the minced steak well with sea salt, pepper and 1/2 of the garlic. Knead the seasoning into the minced steak then then roll it into 12 meatballs of equal size. Lay the meatballs on top of the pasta.
Heat the oil in a sauté pan, add the capsicums, onion, chorizo and remaining garlic, and sauté until soft. Add the tomatoes, tomato concentrate, water herbs, spices and red kidney beans. Bring the pan to the boil, taste and season. Pour the sauce over the meatballs. Cover the casserole dish and bake for 1 hour.
Sprinkle the surface generously with chopped parsley, then serve.
Serves 4



About ladyredspecs

I live in sunny Brisbane, Australia. My love of good food drives me as a cook, a reader, a traveller, an artist and but mostly as an eater. I cooked professionally for many years but have no formal training. Simply guided by a love of eating good food, respect for ingredients and an abhorrence of artificial additives, I cook instinctively applying the technical know how acquired by experience. I hope you enjoy what I share Sandra AKA ladyredspecs

15 comments on “Mum’s Mexican Meatballs

  1. ChgoJohn
    November 27, 2013

    I’m with Mum and love a good casserole, especially now that our temps are struggling to get above freezing. This one, with that great spice list, would be very welcome here.


    • ladyredspecs
      November 27, 2013

      Mum never considered herself much of a cook, or eater, it was Dad who passed the love of food on. It’s kind of ironic that I’m re cooking Mum’s recipes, my childhood favourites!


  2. ohlidia
    November 26, 2013

    Lovely revamping of a ’60’s dish Sandra. And what vibrant colours!


  3. laurasmess
    November 26, 2013

    This looks so, so good! Haha, I am so glad that you’re sharing your mother’s old recipes with this new generation. I love meatballs, fusion food, Mexican… everything about this. The meatballs look awesome! x


    • ladyredspecs
      November 26, 2013

      Thanks Laura. I’m having a great time reinventing, and the dishes are none the worse for it!


  4. Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs
    November 25, 2013

    Oh my gosh, does this look yummy. I’m totally crazy over casseroles.. and I have never heard of splayds and sporks before this.. lol. That cracks me up!! I love how you changed the recipe adding your own touch using tomatoes and chorizo… very cool. ❤


  5. Fig & Quince
    November 24, 2013

    I love casseroles! They are my go-to for no fuss no muss comfort food that’s delicious. What a great recipe. Thanks for sharing!


  6. Karen
    November 24, 2013

    There are certain recipes that we will always associate with our mother’s meals. This sounds like a good one.


  7. Transplanted Cook
    November 23, 2013

    I love casseroles! Using chorizo was inspired. This will go down well with my family, so it looks like we’ll be having Mexican Meatballs for dinner tonight.


  8. tinywhitecottage
    November 23, 2013

    Another fabulous recipe from your Mum. I really like the idea of using a splayd and spark…fun!


    • ladyredspecs
      November 23, 2013

      Thanks Seana, yes with a bit of adjustment everything old is new again!


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This entry was posted on November 23, 2013 by in Beef, Food, Gluten Free, Main Meals and tagged , , , , .
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