Spicy Chipotle Meatballs

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Spicy Chipotle Meatballs

Spicy Chipotle Meatballs

For those of you that might not know, chipotle is a chili pepper with a very smoky flavour and aroma, a little like smoked paprika with mild, warm heat. It’s the red ripe jalapeño, not the pickled one you’re used to getting as a condiment. Unlike most chilies that simply add a little heat to the dish, chipotle adds an incredible flavour and depth. It’s great with meats and seafood. It’s one of the ingredients that makes this recipe so great, hence the name – Spicy Chipotle Meatballs.


  • 1 teaspoon lard, ghee or coconut oil
  • 1 large brown onion, finely diced

For the meatballs:

  • 800 g grass-fed beef mince (1.8 lb ground beef)
  • 3 medium dried chipotle chilies (tinned chipotle can also be used), seeds out
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed or powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin seed or powder
  • 1 teaspoon sweet or medium paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lard, ghee or coconut oil

For the sauce:

  • ½ brown onion, mentioned above
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 2 medium chipotle chilies, seeds out
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander seed or powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin seed or powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 400 g diced tomatoes or tomato puree (about 1 ½ cups)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

Note: You will need a large, deep frying pan


  1. If using dried chipotle chilies, place them in hot water to rehydrate, for at least an hour before using.
  2. Heat a teaspoon of cooking fat in a large frying pan over medium heat and add the onion. Sauté the onion for 3-5 minutes until translucent. Remove to a bowl. Use half of the onion for the meatballs mix and reserve the rest for the sauce.
  3. While onion is cooking, pre-chop other ingredients for the meatballs. Slice the chipotle chilies in half and remove the seeds. Chop with a knife or grind with mortar and pestle into a paste-like consistency.
  4. Combine ground beef with half of the cooked onion, chopped garlic and chipotle chilies, paprika, cumin, coriander seed, salt and olive oil. Mix and knead through using your hands. Using clean, wet hands roll the mix into small balls (somewhere between a walnut and a golf ball size). Set aside until ready to cook.
  5. Preheat a dollop of lard in the same large frying pan until sizzling hot. Cook the meatballs on medium-high heat for 3 minutes on each side, until well browned.
  6. Add the rest of the cooked onion, garlic, two chopped chilies and the sauce spices to the pan with the meatballs. Stir through and add the diced tomatoes/puree. Combine and cook for 8-10 minutes uncovered, stirring frequently to make sure the meatballs cook evenly and the sauce is well combined. Taste for salt. Drizzle with a little lime juice before serving.