We have a theory that you can put anything—like meatballs—inside a tortilla and it’ll be instantly delicious. These meatballs get flavored with chipotle chile for a smoky depth. As a smart cooking technique, we mixed in chopped tortillas in place of breadcrumbs to make the meatballs tender (and gluten-free). A simple slaw of cabbage, cilantro leaves, onion, and lime makes for the perfect tangy topping.
What you’ll need:
1 medium red onion (6-8 oz)
¼ oz fresh cilantro
2 chipotles in adobo (1 oz)
7 white corn tortillas (0.76 oz ea)
1 Tbsp ground cumin (0.2 oz)
12 oz ground beef
1 Tbsp tomato paste (0.5 oz)
12 oz green cabbage
1 large egg
freshly ground black pepper
1. Prep ingredients
Preheat oven to 200°F. Halve and peel onion. Cut half into thin slivers. Grate the other half on coarse holes of a box grater. Pick cilantro leaves from stems and finely chop stems. Finely chop chipotle (1½ tablespoons). Very finely chop 1 tortilla. Wrap remaining tortillas in foil and transfer to oven to warm.
2. Make meatballs
In a large bowl, combine ground beef, ½ of the grated onion, chopped cilantro stems, chopped tortilla, ½ of the cumin, 2 teaspoons chipotle (or less if desired), and 1 large egg. Season with ½ teaspoon salt. Using moistened hands, roll into twelve 1½-inch balls.
3. Cook meatballs
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a medium skillet over medium-high. Add meatballs and cook, turning once or twice, until browned but not cooked through, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer meatballs to a plate. Pour off fat from skillet and reduce heat to medium.
4. Make sauce
Add remaining grated onion and cumin and cook, 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and remaining chipotle (or less if desired) and cook, 30 seconds. Add 1 cup water and ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper, scraping up browned bits. Add meatballs and simmer, covered, 8–10 minutes. Uncover and cook until sauce thickens, 2–3 minutes.
5. Make slaw
Meanwhile, juice lime. Halve, core, and very thinly slice cabbage. Transfer to a large bowl and add sliced onion, half of the cilantro leaves, lime juice, and 2 tablespoons oil. Season with ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Using your hands, gently squeeze 3 or 4 times to slightly wilt cabbage.
Unwrap tortillas and fill with meatballs and cabbage slaw. Drizzle sauce on top and garnish with remaining cilantro. Serve any remaining slaw on the side. Enjoy!