Slow Cooker Mexican Meatballs

Sauce

1 tsp cumin seed

1 tsp coriander seed

4 cloves garlic

2 sprigs fresh oregano, leaves only

1 sprig fresh thyme, leaves only

1 pasilla chile, stemmed and seeded

1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 yellow onion, diced

1 or 2 chipotle chiles, chopped

Salt

1 c chicken stock


Meatballs

8 peppercorns

4 allspice berries

1 tsp cumin seed

1 tsp coriander seed

2 sprigs of fresh oregano, leaves only

1 1/2 lbs ground beef

1 egg

2 tsp salt

1/2 white onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 c panko breadcrumbs

1 tbsp vegetable oil


1) To a spice grinder add the cumin through fresh thyme and grind to make a paste.  

2) Heat a dry skillet over high heat and add the torn pasilla chile.  Sear on both sides and then remove to a bowl.  Add the crushed tomatoes to the chiles and set aside.

3) In the same skillet, add the vegetable oil and onion and saute at medium until they begin to turn golden brown.  Add the spice mixture to the onions and continue to saute for another 3 minutes or so, stirring to blend.

4) Add the onion mixture to a food processor or blender, add the chile & tomato mixture, the chopped chipotles and salt.  Process until smooth.  Add the chicken stock and process again.  Transfer chile mixture to the slow cooker and cook on low with the lid on while you prepare the meatballs.


Meatballs

1) To the spice grinder add the peppercorns through the oregano leaves and grind to make a fine powder.

2) In a large bowl, add the meat, egg, spice mixture, salt, onion, garlic and panko and mix with your hands to combine.  Form meat mixture into 1 inch balls using your hands or a an ice cream scoop.  

3) In the same skillet, add the vegetable oil and heat over medium-high.  Add the meatballs and brown on all sides.  Do not cook through.  When browned transfer to the slow cooker.

4) Set the slow cooker to low and cook the meatballs for 3 to 4 hours.

5) Serve with cilantro rice and a large crisp salad.


*This recipe was adapted from The Gourmet Slow Cooker cookbook


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