Let me start with a confession - I love Mexican food. In fact, one might say I am obsessed with Mexican food. Someone asks - where should we go for lunch? I say - Mexican. My husband asks - what should we have for dinner? My list of possible answers - tacos, fajitas, enchiladas, nachos or take out Mexican. So since I'm responsible for the May recipe, I have to go south of the border in honor of Cinco de Mayo. As I was searching for the recipe, I did a little reading about the holiday. Cinco de Mayo recognizes the Mexican army's defeat of French forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. It is mainly celebrated as a regional holiday in the state of Puebla in Mexico but has taken on a life of it's own in the United States, where it is viewed as a celebration of Mexican culture. And food of course :)
Instead of standard fare, I wanted to try something a little different. I thought this recipe looked fun, easy and most importantly, delicious! Enjoy!
1 pound ground meat (beef, pork, turkey or any mixture of these)
1/4 cup finely crushed tortilla chips
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped plus 3 whole sprigs
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 teaspoons ancho chili powder, separated
2 teaspoons ground cumin, separated
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cups canned fire-roasted diced tomatoes
4 crusty sub rolls, halved
Diced avocado, chopped green onion and crumbled Mexican cheese for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350. Mix the meat, tortilla chips, egg, chopped cilantro, onion, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon cumin and salt to taste in a bowl. Roll into 16 small meatballs.
Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs and lightly brown, turning as needed, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining minced garlic, chili powder and cumin. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, the sprigs of cilantro and 1-1/2 cups water and season with salt. Bring to a simmer, then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until the sauce thickens and the meatballs are tender, about 15 minutes.
About 5 minutes before the meatballs are done, toast the rolls in the oven. Place the rolls in individual bowls and top each with 4 meatballs. Drizzle sauce over the meatballs, then pour the remaining sauce into the bowls so the bread can soak up the sauce. Top with avocado, green onion and Mexican cheese.