Chef Irie’s Picadillo Meatballs

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Chef Irie's picadillo meatballs bathed in a light tomato basil sauce.

Chef Irie’s picadillo meatballs bathed in a light tomato basil sauce.

Chef Irie’s signature Picadillo Meatballs are an interesting twist on Latin Picadillo. The chopped meat mixed with ham, olives, spices and other seasonings, is usually eaten loosely or as a filling for empanadas and savory pastries. For his version, Chef has brought a hint of Italy into the equation, bathing the meatballs in a light tomato basil sauce. Serve with Chef Irie’s very unique Chayote Salad as a side.

Serves 4

Prep Time 45 min  

Cook Time 45 min   

Total Time 1 hr 30 min


  • ¼ cup Olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes
  • 2 cup tomato sauce
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp Adobo seasoning
  • ½ bch Fresh basil leaves
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • 1 ½ lb ground beef – sirloin or chuck or combination of both
  • ¾ lb ground chorizo or pork
  • ½ cup smoked ham, small diced
  • ½ cup ea green & red red peppers, small diced
  • 1 ½ cup green olives, chopped
  • 1 cup golden raisins, chopped
  • ½ cup red pimento
  • 3 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 3 stalks green onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 tbsp Adobo seasoning
  • 1 tbsp Kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp Spice blend


  • 2 Tb Paprika
  • 1 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tb Ground cumin
  • 1 Tb Ground oregano


  1. Add ground beef and ground pork to large bowl and then add all the chopped vegetables along with spices and remaining ingredients. Using hands, mix all the ingredients until they are combined. Let stand in fridge for about 30 minutes. Remove and form into medium size balls.
  2. For the basil sauce, add oil to medium stock pot on medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and remaining ingredients. Allow to come to a simmer.
  3. Use hand blender to puree tomato mixture until almost smooth. Check the seasoning and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add the meatballs one at a time. Give a quick, gentle stir. Cover the pot and reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook for about 45 minutes.


  • To check desired seasoning in the meatballs, cook a small sample in a fry pan and taste before adding the remainder to the sauce