Beef meatball (and Shiitake)

Curiosities about meatballs

I had never wondered about the origin of meatballs as it is such a popular and widespread dish. In case you didn’t know either, it was the Arabs who taught us this way of cooking meat.

The word evolved from the classical Arabic ‘bunduqah’ to the Hispanic Arabic ‘albúnduqa’. It is thought to have been first invented by Ziryab, a well-known gastronome, poet and singer of Kurdish origin who lived in the Emirate of Cordoba between the 7th and 8th centuries of ancient Al Andalus (nowdays Andalusia). As early as 1573, there are written records of the existence of the meatball in North Africa.

The variety of “meatball stew” recipes around the world is incredible. Just in Turkey there are 80 different types, known as “köfte”.

Meatballs with chips

My mother’s recipe

My family’s original recipe doesn’t have shiitake but I decided to innovate a little. Mixing the meat with the mushrooms makes the dish healthier and more nutritious.

Shiitake mushroom comes from Japan and is very rich in Vitamin D. Did you know that 30-60% of the population in Southern and Western European countries are deficient in this vitamin? Well, here is an idea of how to take it naturally. Shiitake also contains other B vitamins and minerals such as zinc, manganese and copper which help against ageing.



  • Minced (beef) meat.
  • Persil.
  • Onion.
  • Shiitake (optional).
  • Two eggs.
  • Breadcrumbs and sunflower oil for frying.
  • Olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • White wine and laurel.
  • Potatoes.
With the hands in the dough

Preparation of Meatballs

  1. Finely chop half an onion, the parsley and the shiitake.
  2. Mix them with the minced meat.
  3. Beat the two eggs and add them to the batter.
  4. Add salt and pepper.
  5. Give the dough consistency with the breadcrumbs to make it easier to form the balls.
  6. Heat the sunflower oil and fry them.
Frying meatballs

7. Cut the other half of the onion (this time it does not need to be thinly sliced). Brown them in a little olive oil that you have previously heated in a pan.

Onion base for the sauce

8. Add the fried meatballs and the white wine. Once s it is mixed with the onions and evaporated, then you can cover with water and bay leaf. The amount of water should cover at least until the half of the meatball. Close the pot and heat for about 20 minutes over a low heat. You can open the lid of the pan and play with the reduction of the sauce until it reaches the desired thickness.

9. They can be served with chips.

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