Chicken & pumpkin albóndigas with sweetcorn lime & coriander soffrito

Chicken & pumpkin albóndigas with sweetcorn lime & coriander soffrito

Chris Middleton

‘Albóndigas’ means ‘meatballs’ though the name originally derives from the old Arabic word for hazelnut. These particular meatballs are quite unique, remaining light and unctuous after a brief simmering in this quick pumpkin salsa thanks to the addition of the soft ricotta. They make an impressive, fast and fabulous family meal.


Quantity Ingredient
12 Tortilla dough, small homemade masa flour tortillas
or 12 store-bought tortillas
80g salted ricotta, finely chopped
250ml low-fat sour cream

Pumpkin salsa

Quantity Ingredient
75ml sunflower oil
3 garlic clove, finely sliced
1 jalapeno, finely sliced
2 oregano sprigs
pinch smoked paprika
250g pumpkin, finely grated
1 litre chicken stock, simmered with retained corn husks for 10 minutes

Chicken meatballs

Quantity Ingredient
500g finely minced, chicken breast
250g smooth ricotta
1 large handful oregano leaves, chopped
300g feta, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 garlic clove, grated
2 eggs, beaten
250ml sunflower oil

Sweetcorn soffrito

Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
2 sweetcorn cobs, kernels removed and husks retained
250g peeled butternut pumpkin, cut into thin discs
1 bunch spring onions, finely chopped
2 limes, zested and juiced
1 bunch coriander leaves, finely chopped


Quantity Ingredient
1 small handful shredded iceberg lettuce
1 jalapeno, finely sliced
4 breakfast radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, finely sliced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
lime juice, to taste


  1. For the pumpkin salsa, heat the sunflower oil in a shallow pan over low heat, add the garlic, jalapeño and oregano and cook for 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the paprika and pumpkin, increase the heat and cook for 1 minute, then pour over the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid, reduce to a simmer and cook gently for 20 minutes, until the pumpkin is soft and very well cooked. Transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth, then adjust the seasoning. Return to the saucepan and keep warm until needed.
  2. Combine all the meatball ingredients in a bowl, season well with salt and pepper and mix together. Roll a small ball and cook in a frying pan to taste and test the seasoning. Adjust if required.
  3. Heat the sunflower oil in a shallow frying pan until shimmering. Using 2 spoons, shape the meatball mixture into walnut-sized balls and carefully lower them into the hot oil. Cook for 1 minute, then turn and cook for a further minute until browned all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain.
  4. Transfer the drained meatballs to the saucepan with the warm pumpkin salsa, spooning over the sauce to cover the meatballs. Bring to the boil over mediumhigh heat, basting the meatballs occasionally with the sauce, then remove from the heat and set aside.
  5. For the soffrito, heat the sunflower oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add the corn, pumpkin and spring onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the lime juice, zest and coriander, then transfer to the meatball and sauce mixture and stir together gently to combine.
  6. Combine the salad ingredients in a bowl and toss together.
  7. Heat a medium non-stick frying pan over high heat. Lightly spray with oil and briefly fry the tortillas to warm them. Stack the tortillas, wrap them in a warm damp tea towel and set aside to keep warm.
  8. To serve, ladle the meatballs into a large shallow dish, top with a little of the salad and sprinkle over the salted ricotta. Serve with the remaining salad, warm tortillas and sour cream.
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