Meatballs with Tex-Mex Chili Gravy

1/4 Cup lard or vegetable oil
1/4 Cup plus 2 Tbsp Masa Harina
1-1/2 tsp Black Pepper Fine Grind
1-1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
2 Tbsp Chili Powder Medium
2 tsp Cumin Ground
1 tsp Paprika Smoked Sweet
1-1/2 tsp Oregano Mexican
1 tsp Garlic Powder
2 tsp New Mexico Chile Powder
1 tsp Chipotle Chile, Brown Powder
1/2 tsp Coriander Ground
2 Cups beef stock
1/2 medium white onion, finely chopped
1-1/2 lb ground pork
1 large egg
1/4 fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 Cup Queso Fresco, crumbled, or Monterrey Jack, shredded


Make the Chili Gravy: warm the lard or vegetable oil, along with 1/4 Cup of masa harina in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Use a whisk to continuously stir the mixture until the masa begins to turn golden and is fragrant, about 4 – 5 min. Add 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp kosher salt, 2 tsp cumin, 2 Tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp paprika, and 1 tsp oregano to the mixture. Continue to whisk the spices into the mixture, about 30 seconds. You will be completely engulfed in the smell of Tex-Mex goodness as the spices warm (it also will make your house smell fantastic). Add the beef stock to the mixture, a little at a time, while continuing to stir. Cook for a few more minutes until gravy coats the back of a spoon.

Make the Meatballs: Preheat oven to 400°F and oil a baking sheet. Use a wooden spoon (or your hands) to mix the ground pork with onion, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp coriander, 2 tsp New Mexico Chile Powder, 1 tsp Chipotle Chile Powder, and 1 tsp Garlic Powder. In a small bowl, vigorously whisk 2 Tbsp of Masa Harina in egg until the mixture is frothy and any lumps dissolve. Pour the egg mixture over the pork mixture and stir to combine. Scoop up about 1/4 of mixture and shape into a batch of meatballs about 1-1/2″ in diameter, placing each on a rimmed baking sheet about an inch apart. Bake meatballs for 20 minutes; pieces will be darkened and cooked through. Repeat process with another batch of meatballs.

Add finished meatballs to the gravy skillet; toss gently to coat. Simmer until meatballs are thoroughly heated.  Remove meatballs and gravy to a serving dish. Garnish with cilantro and cheese and serve warm.