Meatballs in caramelized wine sauce

Continuing with the list of classic Panamanian recipes for gatherings and parties, today I bring you the recipe for meatballs in wine. These little dumplings are ideal as “snacks” or appetizers.

Bolitas de carne


  •  1 kg of minced meat
  •  2 lightly beaten eggs
  •  ½ cup recao verde liquefied *
  •  Pepper
  •  Garlic salt
  •  ½ cup bread crumbs
  •  5 cups port wine or sweet Malaga
  •  3 cups brown sugar

 * Recao verde: Is a small parcel of herbs and vegetables sold in Panama; very similar to the French’s bouquet garni and an essential ingredient in many Panamanian recipes. Although some ingredients may vary, basically it consists of:

 Culantro, onion, parsley, garlic and chives


Mix the meat with all the ingredients, except the wine and sugar. Knead well, form small balls and set aside.

In a saucepan mix half the wine with sugar and heat it over high heat until it begins to boil and the sugar has dissolved.

Carefully place one by one the balls into the pot and cover it (you can sauté the meat balls before if you like, but it really isn’t necessary). Let simmer for 15-20 minutes and then flip them carefully so they do not break and are made all around.

Add the rest of the wine and cook until the sauce is caramelized.


Adapted from Cocina clásica de Panama II by Rosita Córdoba

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44 thoughts on “Meatballs in caramelized wine sauce

  1. pamasaurus September 21, 2012 at 00:59 Reply

    These sound (and Look!!!) delicious!!

  2. Mad Dog September 21, 2012 at 02:28 Reply

    Ellos son como manzanas acarameladas cárnicos!

  3. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen September 21, 2012 at 04:12 Reply

    Oh, these look so yummy and I am stuck at the hairdressers and I’m starving!! I’d give anything for a plate of these right now!

    • Bluejellybeans September 21, 2012 at 18:24 Reply

      Thanks Barbara! Well, that’s the price of beauty ;)

  4. ChgoJohn September 21, 2012 at 05:39 Reply

    Please, Giovanna, if ever I come to a party where you serve these, please keep them from me. I’ll surely eat them all or enough to be an embarrassment. These look so good and are just the right for a party.

    • Bluejellybeans September 21, 2012 at 18:28 Reply

      Ok, I promess ;)
      Thanks for the comment, I love these too, and I ate an embarrassing amount before and after the photo shoot…

  5. Tandy September 21, 2012 at 05:56 Reply

    Thank you for teaching me something new :)

    • Bluejellybeans September 21, 2012 at 18:30 Reply

      It’s the least I could do after all you’ve taught me ;)
      Thanks for your comment!

  6. Eha September 21, 2012 at 06:05 Reply

    Oh sugar!!! These do contain a lot of sugar . . . hmm: of course I never read and absorbed that bit to get to the deliciousness ;) !

    • Bluejellybeans September 21, 2012 at 18:32 Reply

      Yes, a lot of sugar…but they are small ;)
      Thanks for your comment!

  7. cocomino September 21, 2012 at 06:31 Reply

    Oh, very nice. My children love meatballs. My wife sometimes cook it and put it in a lunch box.

    • Bluejellybeans September 24, 2012 at 15:56 Reply

      That’s great! Maybe they’ll like this version too ;)

  8. Florence September 21, 2012 at 08:38 Reply

    They look delicious. Have a great weekend.
    Regards Florence x

  9. Food,Photography & France September 21, 2012 at 10:06 Reply

    They look glossy and delicious. A bit like English toffee apples:)

  10. thecompletecookbook September 21, 2012 at 11:11 Reply

    A double portion for me please. :-) Mandy

    • Bluejellybeans September 21, 2012 at 18:38 Reply

      Right away! ;)
      Thanks Mandy, have a lovely weekend!

  11. niasunset September 21, 2012 at 11:14 Reply

    WOW! You fascinated me again… this is so lovely and seems so delicious too. Thank you my dearest Giovanna, have a nice weekend, love, nia

    • Bluejellybeans September 21, 2012 at 18:36 Reply

      Dear Nia, thanks a lot for your comment :)
      Have a nice weekend!

  12. Jasline September 21, 2012 at 11:36 Reply

    The meatballs look so delicious! I’m so hungry!

  13. Chica Andaluza September 21, 2012 at 12:32 Reply

    These look fantastic – I love meatballs, albondigas, polpettini…whatever you call them! These look very superior and like Chgo John I am sure I could eat an embarrassing amount :)

    • Bluejellybeans September 21, 2012 at 18:36 Reply

      ¡Gracias Tanya!
      Mis hijos se ríen de mi por que las llamo bolitas de carne ;)
      Well, if you ever come visit, I know what to serve … to you and John!
      Buen fin de semana!

  14. thedogwalkinggardener September 21, 2012 at 18:08 Reply

    these look delicious!!!

  15. Fergiemoto September 21, 2012 at 18:19 Reply

    Looks so yummy!

  16. Jed Gray (sportsglutton) September 22, 2012 at 15:29 Reply

    A little port over meatballs??? Brilliant!

    • Bluejellybeans September 24, 2012 at 16:03 Reply

      A little or a lot, it depends on how accustomed you are to alcohol… ;)
      Thanks Jed!

  17. Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy September 23, 2012 at 02:18 Reply

    Ay Dios mío, those look absolutely, positively, delicious…I want to come to your parties!!

    • Bluejellybeans September 24, 2012 at 16:04 Reply

      ¡Jeje! Gracias Natalia :) Whenever you’re around the neighborhood…

  18. glutenfreezen September 23, 2012 at 18:54 Reply

    Mmmm….just the picture alone made my mouth water! ~ April

  19. All You Do Is Eat October 4, 2012 at 04:14 Reply

    Ohhh yum these look so tasty! Can’t wait to make them!!

  20. Choc Chip Uru October 7, 2012 at 03:36 Reply

    Very incredible meatballs right here my friend :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  21. Wendell A. Brown September 28, 2013 at 18:22 Reply

    Excellent!!! Blessings my sister!

  22. […] Number 8: Meatballs in caramelized wine sauce […]

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