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  • Writer's pictureCarlos Sarmiento

Spanish meatballs & potatoes paired with Cindus Toro & Señorío Del Sotillo Crianza Rivera del Duero

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

A taste of Spain…perfect for your next dinner party, featuring albóndigas (meatballs) cooked in a spicy tomato-based sauce and pan-fried potatoes with a tangy cilantro-lime yogurt sauce.

Naturally, elevated Spanish dishes deserve to be paired with distinctive wines.

For this posting, I am pairing each dish with two sensational wines from the Castilla y Leon.

(Photo: Gustavo A. Perez)

Castilla y Leon is the largest autonomous community in Spain, offering a diverse natural landscape, majestic historical monuments, and a wide range of delicious regional cuisine.

The famous Saint James Way pilgrim route (bucket list of mine) goes through this region.

(Photo: Alexander Schimmeck)

Castilla y Léon is one of the most important wine regions of Spain, which combines notable DOs (Denominaciones de Origen) such as Ribera del Duero, Toro, Rueda and Bierzo.

The Tempranillo grape is the king of all grapes in this region and produces complex, full-bodied red wines with spicy and fruity flavors.

Let‘s get cooking!

Menu: Albondigas - Spanish meatballs in spicy tomato sauce. Potatoes and chick peas with onions and cilantro-garlic yogurt sauce.

Wine pairing: 2017 Cindus D.O. Toro - Tempranillo (San Román de Hornija, Valladolid, Castilla y Leon, Spain) for meatballs.

2016 Senorio del Sotillo - Crianza - D.O. Rivera del Duero - Tempranillo (Burgos, Castilla y Leon, Spain) for potatoes.

Serves 6-8



  • 2 pounds (32 ounces) lean ground beef

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 5 ounces breadcrumbs

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

Sauce for meatballs:

  • 1 cup chopped onion

  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic

  • 16 ounces chopped tomatoes

  • 4 teaspoons tomato puree

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 4 ounces red wine

  • 4 ounces beef stock

  • 4 ounces peas fresh or frozen

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped (for final topping)

Potatoes & yogurt sauce:

  • 1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks

  • Sea salt

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

  • 2 cups fried onions (one 2.8-ounce can, or preferred method I used, of actually frying 2 cups of julienne sliced onions in olive oil, low-medium heat)

  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus leaves for topping

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Optional side: Baguette bread, thinly sliced.


Meatballs & sauce:

  • For the meatballs, in a bowl, mix together all the ingredients (not the olive oil) until you have a nice stiff consistency. Cover and leave in the fridge for half an hour. Later, make your meatballs, taking about a tablespoon of mixture for each one.

  • Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and fry the meatballs in batches on a med-high heat. You want them nicely browned. Add more oil if necessary for each batch.

  • Drain on some paper towels and keep warm. Use the same frying pan (but tip out any excess fat) to make use of the meat juices that should have caramelized on the bottom. Add the oil if necessary and cook the onion until soft and translucent, then add the garlic, a few grinds of black pepper and cook for another minute or so.

  • Add the wine and increase the heat to high, let the wine boil for a minute or so to intensify the flavor. Add the can of tomatoes, the puree and the stock. Bring back to a boil then simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the peas, stir in the cayenne pepper and the meatballs and continue simmering for another 10 minutes. Sprinkle fresh chopped parsley when serving.

Potatoes and yogurt sauce:

  • Put the potatoes, 2 teaspoons salt and enough cold water to cover in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are almost tender, 3 to 6 minutes. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain the potatoes.

  • Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Stir in the cayenne pepper and cook, stirring, 30 seconds.

  • Add the chickpeas, 1 cup fried onions and 1/2 cup reserved cooking water; cook, mashing the potatoes with a spoon, until heated through, about 3 minutes. Add more cooking water, if needed. Season with salt.

  • Mix the yogurt, chopped cilantro, lime juice and 2 tablespoons water in a bowl. Divide the potato-chickpea mixture among bowls. Top with the yogurt sauce, the remaining 1 cup fried onions and cilantro leaves.

Serve it up!

Truthfully, you can serve these dishes family style straight from the pans!

I kept the meatballs in the cast iron pan because it really is a showpiece dish.

The potatoes where placed on a large serving platter, topped with just a little of yogurt sauce (extra sauce can be served on a small bowl).

I highly recommend to also serve a platter with sliced baguette type of bread, great for scoping up the meatball tomato sauce.

Buen provecho! Enjoy!

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

About the wines…

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

2017 Cindus D.O. Toro - Tempranillo

(San Román de Hornija, Valladolid, Castilla y Leon, Spain)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)


Legado de Orniz is a beatiful family fusion of Spanish and Argentine winemaking styles launched by Enriqueta Celemín, a Spaniard from Toro, and Diego Ribbert from Mendoza, Argentina.

Both Enriqueta and Diego are certified winemakers and agricultural engineers, in addition to life partners.

They met while working in the winemaking department of Bodegas Numanthia in 2009 and decided to launch their own project taking advantage of Enriqueta's faimly's centenary vineyards in Toro's most sough-after terroir of San Roman de Hornija.


Toro is a wine region in north-western Spain, known for its powerful red wines made from Tempranillo.

It is named for the town of Toro. The Spanish word toro means "bull', and while it is unclear precisely how the town's name came about, the bull is nonetheless a fitting symbol for robust, red Toro wines.

The climate is continental with very little rainfall. High-altitude vineyards with wide day-night temperature variations help to create well-balanced wines.

Tasting notes:

Nose: With a cherry-red robe, this wine

features an aromatic bouquet dominated by red fruit with balsamic notes.

On the palate, the fruit continues showcasing a voluptuous, highly concentrated style with touches of spice on sweet, well-rounded tannins.


100% Tinta de Toro

(Tempranillo), 50 year-old vines.

Food pairing: Perfect for beef, lamb and pork, as well as spicy and tomato-based dishes.

2016 Senorio del Sotillo - Crianza - D.O. Rivera del Duero - Tempranillo

(Burgos, Castilla y Leon, Spain)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)


Third generation family-owned and operated winery with over 80 hectares of prime quality

vineyards ranging from 20 to 80 yr-old vines in the northernmost area of Ribera del Duero, Spain's most prestigious appellation.


Located in Spain's North-céntrales plateau about

two hours north of Madrid. 3,000 feet over sea level. Continental weather with little rainfall, dry summers and harsh freezing winters. Unique soil with alternating layers of limestone and marl.

Tasting notes:

Nose: Intense cherry red with medium to high opaqueness.

Aromas of cinnamon, cumin and vanilla that give way to black and red fruits. Velvety and elegant in the mouth with ripe tannins .

The aciditybblends in perfectly with reminiscence of vanilla, cinnamon, toffee, cocoa, tobacco and exquisite flavors of

clean leather.


100% Tempranillo

Food pairing: tapas, grilled meats, pastas, tomato-based sauces, smoky dishes, burgers.

For more information, visit:


Special thanks to VinAmericas and Partanna Olive Oil!


Decorative wine bottle drip collar rings provided by:

(Special discount promo code: CFW15)


This pairing and posting could not have been made possible without the assistance and support of Ricardo & Milagros Rodezno. Gracias familia!

(Photo: Jesus Tapia)

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