Albóndigas

“Albóndigas” means “meatballs” in Spanish. Albóndigas is also a traditional Mexican style soup. Growing up in El Paso, Texas my grandmother who was originally from San Andrés, Chihuahua, Mexico would cook Mexican style soups like Albóndigas, Caldo de Res, and/or Lentils every Saturday. This recipe is not my mama’s, however making this soup certainly brought back so many wonderful childhood memories. I guess, this is one big reason why these meals are called comfort foods. This recipe should yield approximately 4 to 6 servings.

You will need:

  • 16 ounces of lean ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/2 cup medium grain raw rice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves ( I used mint “Mexican yerba buena”)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground star anise
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 quarts of vegetable stock or chicken bouillon
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large white onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 Roma tomato diced
  • 1 medium size zuchinni sliced
  • 1 medium size carrot spiral cut or sliced

To make the broth, start by sautéing chopped onions and minced garlic in large pot with olive oil. When onions and garlic are semi-caramelized add diced Roma tomatoes sautéing for another minute or two. Then add vegetable stock or chicken bouillon, bay leaves and bring to low boil. Cover with lid and lower the heat to simmer while you prepare the meatballs.

To make meatballs, place ground meat (I used ground turkey breast) in a mixing bowl adding egg, raw rice, chopped mint, cumin, garlic powder, star anise, oregano, pepper and salt. Mix by hand massaging all these ingredients together making approximately 12 to 14 round meatballs. In a frying pan with some olive oil lightly brown meatballs to keep their shape “round” and in form.

Add the lightly browned meatballs to broth with sliced carrots and zucchini cover with lid on low heat to simmer for about an hour. Do not boil.

You could garnish your soup with freshly chopped cilantro, sliced radishes, jalapeños, avocados and/or a squeeze of lime. ¡Felicidades!

By the way, check out the groovy song by Fred Schneider & the Superions called  “Albóndigas”  on YouTube. It is a pretty catchy tune “Albóndigas, Meatballs, Óle!”

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