Posted by: Erica Retrochef | October 29, 2012

Mexican Meat Balls

This week we took our recipe from Doyne Nickerson’s 365 Ways to Cook Hamburger: Easy, economical, and excitingly different recipes for 1 to 100 people. You may remember this from our Hamburger and Wheat Germ Peppers over a year ago; if not, don’t fret, it’s basically the same thing but replace the green peppers and wheat germ with tomato sauce and hard-boiled eggs.

Oh, come back, it won’t be that bad! (I hope!)

It’s one of those recipes that doesn’t put all the ingredients in the ingredients list, meaning you’d better hope you read through it very thoroughly the first time or you might be running back to the grocery store.


Brown 1/2 cup bread crumbs in 1 tbsp bacon drippings and add

1/2 lb hamburger
1/2 lb ground lean pork
2 chopped hard-boiled eggs
4 tbsp chopped onion
2 tbsp minced parsley
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Form into balls 1 inch in diameter and set aside.

Mix 1 mashed clove garlic, 1/2 cup chopped onions, and 1/4 cup chopped green pepper and sauté in 2 tbsp olive oil until tender. Add 1 8-oz. can tomato sauce, 1/2 6-oz. can tomato paste, 2 cups water, 1 tsp chili powder, and 1/8 tsp salt and simmer for 30 minutes. Add meat balls and simmer for 1 hour. Serves 4.

Luckily, we read it thoroughly the first time.

The sauce doesn’t feel Mexican so much as Italian; onion and green peppers, tomato sauce, tomato paste…

But, like so many mid-century recipes, “Mexican” flavors can be achieved by adding chili powder!

Moving on to the “meat” of the recipe…

I’ve never actually toasted breadcrumbs before. Not only do they completely soak up the fat very quickly, but they brown VERY quickly — I was really worried I’d burned them for a moment.

And then there’s hard-boiled eggs, which I can’t figure out. Why, Doyne, why?

Seriously. Which of these things does not belong? HARD-BOILED EGGS.

The meat mixture then got rolled up into balls.

The meatballs then went into the sauce to stew for a while.

And finally, served!

This was oddly bland and spicy at the same time. There was also a lot of grease in it (since the meat just stewed in the sauce for an hour, rather than draining off), which was just unpleasant after a while. But most importantly, I didn’t get “Mexican” from this flavor. It reminded me much more of a bland goulash (albeit with chili powder instead of paprika), actually! If some starch (rice, noodles, potatoes, etc.) is added to the tomato sauce-soup, it ends up being a much more pleasant dish to eat. (And you don’t even notice the eggs if you avoid looking at your serving!)

Recipe is scanned from the 365 Ways to Cook Hamburger cookbook, and was published by Doyne Nickerson.


  1. Cinnamon???? Really???? Did you put in cinnamon? Or chili powder instead? I can see this being edible w/o cinnamon or hard-boiled egg, which I don’t know why is necessary at all.

  2. […] What is with these hard-boiled eggs recently? […]

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