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


44 thoughts on “Meatballs in caramelized wine sauce

  1. 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.

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

  3. 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 🙂

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