Albondigas Soup is something I am very fond of, especially when it’s made authentically in Mexican restaurants. Having been raised in Anaheim California with a large Hispanic population, Mexican food was a big part of my upbringing. Our family had certain restaurants we would frequent, which made terrific Mexican Meatball Soup, and now years later, living in Los Angeles, we have found some tasty new places. However, this soup is not difficult to make and is loaded with vegetables and plump meatballs, and makes a terrific meal on almost any occasion.
Making Albondigas Soup at home is a relatively simple process and almost-perfectly formed meatballs and broth are key to a delicious soup. In this recipe, I make meatballs with a little cooked rice and some dried spices from the pantry. Using day-old rice is a great way to use what you already have on hand and not let it go to waste. I love the way the rice gives the meatballs a little extra lift after poaching, and become so tender.
A bowl of this soup is great on cool evenings anytime of the year and it also hits the spot when you are under the weather, and need a little pick-me-up. Also, Albondigas Soup is perfect for holiday celebrations like Christmas Eve, or on Cinco de Mayo, and the leftovers are fabulous reheated either on the stove top or microwave.
1 pound ground beef, organic preferably
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon salt + more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2/3 cup cooked rice
1 medium onion
1 red bell pepper
1 medium zucchini
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
1/2 cup parsley leaves
1 lime + more for garnish
1 quart chicken broth
10 ounce can tomatoes with green chilies
Queso Fresco cheese, optional
1. Dice onion, red pepper and zucchini. Set zucchini aside for later. In a large stock pot, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add onion and red pepper, and sauté for 4 minutes.
2. Add frozen corn and continue to sauté for 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and chicken broth to vegetables, stir. Bring mixture up to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low, simmer.
3. In a large bowl, add ground beef, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt, black pepper, cumin and rice. With your hands, lightly combine meatball ingredients.
4. Form meat mixture into balls, about the size of a ping pong ball. Add to hot broth, and let poach for 20 minutes. Make sure broth isn’t boiling to hard — you don’t want the meatballs to toughen up.
5. Add diced zucchini and simmer for about 7 minutes. Rough chop parsley and add it to soup, along with juice of 1 lime. Taste soup for saltiness and add some if needed. Serve soup with more limes and some Queso Fresco cheese. Enjoy!