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Tex-Mex Meatballs in Red Chile Sauce

Photo: Greg Dupree; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Hands-on time 40 mins
Total time 1 hr, 20 mins
Yield

Makes 8 to 10 servings

Let guests doctor their own plates with crunchy, colorful toppings.

Ingredients

  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 1 small white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems
  • 1/2 cup finely crushed corn chips
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds ground chuck
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 2 (10-oz.) cans red chile enchilada sauce
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 -2 1/2 Tbsp. sugar, divided
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 6-inch corn tortillas, warmed
  • Toppings: Cotija cheese, radishes, toasted shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas), cilantro sprigs, avocado, red leaf lettuce

How to Make It

  1. Preheat broiler with oven rack 5 inches from heat. Broil poblano pepper on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet 6 to 8 minutes or until blistered, turning occasionally. Place poblano in a zip-top plastic freezer bag; seal and let stand 10 minutes to loosen skin. Peel poblano; remove and discard stem and seeds. Pulse poblano, onion, garlic, and cilantro in a food processor until finely chopped.

    Chopping Onion
  2. Stir together corn chips and milk in a large bowl; let stand about 5 minutes or until chips soften. Stir in eggs, salt, pepper, and poblano mixture. Fold in beef. Shape into 35 (1 1/2-inch) meatballs (about 2 tablespoonfuls each). Place 1 1/2 inches apart on a lightly greased (with cooking spray) rack in an aluminum foil-lined jelly-roll pan.

  3. Preheat oven to 400°. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until browned. Transfer meatballs to a large Dutch oven; add enchilada sauce, chicken broth, and 1 Tbsp. sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through and sauce is slightly thickened, turning meatballs halfway through.

  4. Meanwhile, whisk together sour cream, zest, and lime juice in a small bowl. Season with salt, and add desired amount of remaining sugar. Serve meatballs with sour cream mixture, tortillas, and toppings.

  5. MAKE IT AHEAD These meatballs freeze beautifully. Bake an extra batch (or two), freeze, and cook as instructed, adding 10 minutes to cooking time.