Chovem Almôndegas - Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Comfort food when its raining meatballs and burgers
This time of year in the Algarve can be a strange period of changeable weather.Today, howling gales are rattling the shutters and blowing gusty draughts under the doors.Outdoor tasks have had to be abandoned and there is insufficient natural light for indoor remedial work such as painting and decorating.It is a time when bedtime stories and childrens fiction comes to mind.Today with the weather unexpectedly and inexplicably taking a turn for the worse, surprising the local community with uncontrollable storms, one must take comfort in food."Chovem Almôndegas" - "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" is a book and animated movie, chronicling the daily lives of the citizens of an unordinary town,called not Castro Marim but Chewandswallow.The town is characterized by its strange daily meteorological pattern that provides the townsfolk with all their required daily meals by raining storms of tapas-style selections of oversized threatening grub. Their lives endangered by the threats of the storms, they relocate to a different community of average meteorological patterns, safe from the hazards that once were presented by raining meals. However, they are forced to learn how to obtain food the normal way.The key to success with meatballs,when they are not falling from the sky is to be creative with your sauce making. This is because with every different herb and spice, you can lend a unique flavour to each of your meatball dishes, and that way each meatball delicacy that you cook will have a different taste and will give you a wide meatball repertoire.Meatballs can be made with beef,pork, lamb or a combination of meats.They can be served on their own with sauce or with spaghetti, rice or cous cous, or as sliders served in burger buns.Here is a basic recipe for Portuguese Almôndegas.  
Almôndegas (meatballs) in tomato sauce
makes 24
100g day old bread
250ml milk
1 onion,finely chopped
2 cloves garlic,finely chopped

800g minced meat of your choice
100g freshly grated parmesan
1 egg,beaten
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Flor de sal
freshly ground black pepper
4 ripe tomatoes
teaspoon cumin seeds
handful chopped coriander
2 tablespoons olive oil 

Soak the bread in the milk for 5 minutes then squeeze it dry with your hands. Mix together with the meat, cheese, seasoning, onion, garlic, parsley. Add the egg, chopped parsley,flour and season with salt and pepper.Mix everything together well (if the mixture seems heavy, add a little more milk)and mould into balls the size of walnuts.
Cut a cross at the base of each tomato and blanch them in boiling water. Skin the tomatoes.Discard the tomato seed and chop it into pieces.Heat the olive oil gently in a large skillet. Sauté the cumin seeds till they release a fragrance then introduce the meatballs, shaking the pan, until golden on all sides. Add the tomatoes and the chopped coriander.Season with salt and pepper, cover and let sweat over low heat for about 25 minutes. If necessary add a little water. Serve immediately.
Not to be mistake for falafels … Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
The follow up of the story, of which I love the title "Pickles to Pittsburgh", tells of the kids of the town receiving a postcard from their grandfather, who claims to be visiting the ruins of what was once the fabled town of Chewandswallow. The kids then go to sleep and dream that they are there with him, helping to rebuild the post-apocalyptic landscape and restore it a liveable condition again, as well as giving the massive amounts of food away to poverty-stricken developing nations and homeless shelters around the world.This proves to be difficult, as there could be more food storms on the way.




  1. You know I adore meatballs and these sound fantastic. I have actually ordered a book from the library called The Bowler Meatballs - trendy London street food by Jez Felwick (the meatball magnate!) doing gourmet meatballs. I can't wait to try some!

    BTW there is a sequel to Cloudy with a chance of meatballs coming out later this year, but sadly not the story of Pickles to Pittsburgh. Boo!


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