Albondigas is a Mexican version of meatball soup, and this is a recipe adapted from my friend’s recipe, whose husband is a chef. This easy meatball soup recipe is now a new favorite with our family, too.
Preparing the Mexican Meatball Soup takes a little time, but it is so worth it!
MEXICAN MEATBALL SOUP “ALBONDIGAS”
For the stock, use any vegetables you have on hand. I used:
3 small carrots, sliced
2-3 stalks of celery, with leaves, sliced thin
1/2 white onion, diced
10 small white potatoes, quartered
2-3 small Roma tomatoes, chopped
2-3 tablespoons olive oil for browning vegetables
Chile sauce, either canned Embasa chipotle peppers or homemade
1 yellow, green, or red bell pepper (prepared as below)
Optionally, you can add 1 yellow bell pepper (use green or red instead if you have them), cut in half and seeded, then using tongs, place it over the burner for 30 seconds on each side to singe. Use tongs to flip the pepper over and to remove from flame. You can also set under the broiler until singed. Set aside to cool. Dice and add to soup just before adding the meatballs.
Heat the oil in a medium stock pot, and then add the carrots, onion, garlic, celery, and potatoes. Stir and brown briefly. Cover the vegetables with approximately 4 cups water, and add 2 chicken bouillon cubes (with 1 tomato bouillon cube, if available). Bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes and carrots are tender. Add more broth if desired (I like to use vegetable broth from a carton, available at Trader Joe’s).
1 lb ground beef (80% lean or better)
2-3 slices of gluten-free bread (I used brown rice bread), diced
1/4 to 1/2 onion, minced
Salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano (Mexican oregano, if available)
3-4 fresh mint leaves, chopped
Mix well and form into small meatballs (about 2-in), and set on wax paper. Meanwhile, bring water to boil in a medium saucepan. Carefully add the meatballs to the boiling water and allow them to cook until they are no longer pink. Skim off the fat as it comes to the surface. Once the vegetables in the stock are tender, carefully add the cooked meatballs to the broth.
Canned Chile Sauce:
1 small can of Embasa chipotle peppers
USE the peppers if you want the soup to be deliciously spicy! Open the can of chipotle peppers and spoon off about 1-2 tbsp of the sauce into a cup. You can add a little water to the cup and thin the sauce. Pour into the meatball-broth mixture and stir. This gives a piquant taste to the broth which is very spicy at first taste, but eventually soaks into the meatballs and vegetables which, along with the singed diced pepper, gives the soup a smoky flavor. Use more or less chipotle sauce as your tastes dictate. Keep the unused contents of the can in a glass container in the fridge.
Homemade Chile Sauce:
Alternatively, you can easily make your own chile sauce. Choose a few of your favorite dried chiles: pasilla, ancho, Californio, guajillo all are relatively mild chiles that work well with this recipe. I used four assorted chiles, removed the stems, and put the chiles in a saucepan with just enough water to cover. Bring JUST to a boil and turn off the heat, then put the cover on the saucepan. Allow to rest for 20-30 minutes.
Pour the chiles along with the water into a blender. Add a pinch of Mexican oregano, 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic, and salt. Blend until smooth.
Add a small amount of the chile sauce either to the meatball soup in the pot or use it as a condiment to spice up individual servings as desired. Store the unused chile sauce in an airtight glass container in the fridge.
Serve Albondigas Mexican Meatball soup hot! Garnish with a squeeze of lime, finely chopped cilantro and onion. Muy delicioso!
Makes about 6-8 servings
Prep time 1.5 hours
Adapted from a recipe by Martin Ceja