Albóndigas means meatballs in Spanish. So Albóndigas soup means meatball soup. But it’s so much more than just meatball soup. It’s got great flavorful broth that tastes of cumin, chipotle and oregano with shredded rice, carrots and zucchini. Seriously, I almost don’t even need the meatballs but they were pretty awesome too with some garlic and cilantro, along with more cumin and oregano.
I owe this recipe to my two favorite ladies in Phoenix. When I visited a little over a year ago, I HAD to have Mexican for lunch because as one of my friends likes to tell me I can’t get ‘good’ Mexican in MN. So Jenn and I are looking for Mexican places nearby when she saw this place that served albóndigas. I had absolutely no idea what that was but Jenn ensured me that I had to try it. I was in. It was amazing! Fast forward one more year to when Ami joined the team and I was telling her about this restaurant Jenn took me to and the albóndigas soup that I still remembered. Turns out it’s one of her favorite meals to make her family and I knew I had to try it. She sent me this recipe and gave me a few tweaks like adding enchilada sauce. This is definitely a keeper. Thanks ladies!
Here’s what you need:
We’re going to start by making the broth and getting that simmering before moving on to the meatballs.
Pour in some beef stock. Always go with unsalted because then you can control the salt level.
Follow that with some crushed tomatoes.
Then some red enchilada sauce – hot or mild depending on your tastes, chopped chipotle in adobo, shredded carrots and a little salt.
Bring it all to a boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer for about 20 minutes.
While the soup simmers make the albóndigas aka meatballs. The timing worked out just perfect for me.
The binder in this meatball is a ground small corn tortilla – I used a mini prep food processor for this, but chopping into fine bits would work too.
Start by combining some ground beef (or a combination of beef and chorizo or pork) grated zucchini, a lightly beaten egg, tortilla crumbs, garlic, cilantro, salt, cumin, and Mexican oregano in a bowl.
Portion into ¾ inch meatballs. My OXO Good Grips Medium Cookie Scoop which is about 1.5 T worked great for this and helped me get nice and even meatballs.
I got 22 meatballs.
Now the recipe Ami gave me had me cook the meatballs in boiling water for 3-4 minutes. This allows them to set up a little bit and also pulls out some of the grease (highly recommended if you use chorizo).
Use a slotted spoon to transfer meatballs to the soup. Also stir in some shredded zucchini and uncooked rice.
Simmer for another 30 minutes to cook the rice.
Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.
I couldn’t believe how much I loved this soup and as much as I hate to tinker with something so good, next time I think I’m going to take my boss’ advice and add a little fresh lime juice.
This soup is great leftover. I froze a couple containers and was even feeling generous enough to share a large two serving container with Tory. I dropped it off when I was checking on her cats while she was on a camping trip so she had an easy dinner when she got home – after all as Tory likes to say, I am the nice sister.
- 1 T vegetable oil
- ½ large onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ t dried Mexican oregano
- ¼ t ground cumin
- 6 c unsalted beef stock
- 2 c crushed tomatoes
- 1 chipotle minced along with 1-2 t adobo sauce
- 10 oz can red enchilada sauce
- 2 carrots, grated
- 1 t kosher salt
- ½ c zucchini, grated
- ¼ c uncooked rice
- ¾ lb ground beef or combination of beef and pork or chorizo
- ¼ c zucchini, grated
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 small corn tortilla, processed to crumbs
- 1 T fresh cilantro minced
- ½ t kosher salt
- ¼ t ground cumin
- ¼ t dried Mexican oregano
- Chopped cilantro
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté onion, garlic, oregano, and cumin until onions are soft and slightly golden, about 5 minutes.
- Add beef stock, tomatoes, chipotle and adobo, enchilada sauce, carrots, and salt.
- Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Make the meatballs. Combine all meatball ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Portion into one tablespoon or ¾ inch meatballs.
- Bring 2-3 inches of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cook the meatballs for 3-4 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon transfer the meatballs to the soup. Stir in the zucchini and rice.
- Simmer for 30 minutes.
- Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.