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24th January
2009
written by Steph

Albondigas Soup

Albondigas Soup

One thing that I've been making a lot of lately has been soups.  Nashville has been going through a bit of a cold snap, so soups make a great evening meal that is warming and soothing.  Generally I try to make hearty soups that have lots of "fixins" so that they can really serve as an entire meal in their own right.  Additionally, I've been trying to make soups that are "heart healthy", meaning I've been staying away from broths that involve a lot of cream.  I've also steered clear of soups that are too starchy, as the idea is to make a soup that is filling but doesn’t make you feel heavy afterwards.  Another great thing about soups is that they’re relatively simple to put together (even if they generally need about an hour to simmer and steep), and not all that labor intensive.  For the relatively nominal amount of effort and ingredients, we often wind up with enough food for several lunches (2 to 3 days) in addition to our supper.  All told, I’ve been trying to do one soup dinner per week. This week, I chose another recipe from Elise’s Simply Recipes site, this time for Albondigas Soup, which is essentially a Mexican meatball soup.  I chose this recipe for several reasons: 1) Elise notes on her site that this is a soup that’s meant to be eaten as a main course; 2) It’s really easy to put together; 3)All of the ingredients are ones that you should readily have on hand (with the exception of perhaps one); and finally 4) It comes together really quickly (only needs about 40 minutes)!  Once more, I encourage you to check out Elise’s original recipe, although I’ll note that I really didn’t stray too far from her guidelines this time (shocking, I know!).  Here’s what you’ll need:

 

Ingredients

* 2 tablespoons olive oil * 1 large onion, chopped * 1 large garlic clove, minced * 1/2 cup of tomato sauce [Note: I didn’t feel like opening a whole jar of tomato sauce for this recipe, just to use half a cup… so instead, I subbed in 1 jar of crushed tomatoes, plus half a can of tomato paste that I had leftover in my fridge from when I made oxtail stew last week.  I figured this would more or less approximate tomato sauce for the purposes of this soup.] * 3 quarts of chicken stock or beef stock OR water OR a mixture of both [I used 4 crushed up bouillon cubes, and added 12 cups of water to this (which is equal to 3 quarts of liquid)] * 2 large carrots, sliced * 1/2 lb of string beans, cut into 1 inch pieces [I didn’t have string beans on hand, so I used about ¾ pound of yellow squash instead] * 1 pound ground beef * 1/3 cup of raw white rice * 1 raw egg * 1/2 cup of chopped fresh mint leaves and/or parsley [We used just mint… which if you’ll have on hand if you bought it for the chicken peanut curry!] * 1 1/2 teaspoon salt * 1/4 teaspoon black pepper * 1 1/2 cup of frozen or fresh peas * Dried oregano, crumbled * Salt and pepper * 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

 

Method

1.    Heat oil in large pot over medium temperature.  Add onion, and let cook for about 10 minutes, until partially cooked. 2.    Add garlic, and if using bouillon instead of broth, crumble cubes in now.  Let sauté for about 3 minutes.  Then add in tomatoes and tomato paste (or just the sauce), as well as your 3 quarts of liquid. 3.    Bring mixture to boil, then lower temperature so that the mixture is simmering.  Add in your carrots and other fresh vegetables (beans, or in my case, squash). 4.    Make your meatballs.  Combine your ground beef with the RAW rice and the chopped mint and/or parsley.  Add salt and pepper.   Crack in egg, and mix all ingredients together.  Form into 1-inch meatballs. [For reference, we used about the right amount of meat, and wound up with 16 meatballs]. 5.    Slowly add meatballs into the broth, one by one.  Bring mixture to gentle simmer, cover, and let cook for 30 minutes. 6.    Near end of cooking time, add in frozen peas, oregano, and pepper.  [I didn’t do it this time, but I thought it might actually be nice to add some canned corn at this point too!  Next time!]  Let cook for another 5 – 10 minutes. 7.    Garnish with some chopped cilantro and serve.
Glamor Shot!

Glamor Shot!

Overall, this was a really tasty and satisfying soup.  I was expecting the mint flavor in the meatballs to be more pronounced than it was, but that might be because Tony and I are accustomed to robust herbal flavors through our frequent dalliances with Vietnamese cuisine.  Next time I would probably add more mint (3/4 cup?) to the meatballs, as well as perhaps some nutmeg and cumin, which I think would give them a really nice but exotically appropriate flavor.  The broth was really nice, and felt light but also substantial.  Neither of us felt like green beans were really missing from this dish, especially because peas are included at the end.  I think the squash was actually a very nice addition to the soup. This is a dead easy soup to make, and again, is very forgiving and a great way to clean out your crisper drawer.  Give it a shot and let me know what you think!

7 Comments

  1. Simona
    01/25/2009

    mmm I love soups! Another recipe I’ll most definitely try. I’ll keep you posted!

  2. 01/25/2009

    Please do!

  3. 01/26/2009

    This sounds great! I’m going to make it pretty soon, I think.

  4. 01/26/2009

    I know that one of your 2009 resolutions was to try to make new recipes. This one is really easy to make, so it’s not at all intimidating to try it out. I tend to stick to making the same stuff because I know it works, but this one is a breeze!

  5. Simona
    01/27/2009

    Success! A truly wonderful dish, Steph!

    Flavourful and easy to make. It also smells great while it’s simmering which is always a nice bonus. We’ll definitely make it again 😀

    P.S. Any chance you could make the Mail field not required?

  6. 01/27/2009

    Yay! I’m so glad it worked out for you and that you found it easy to put together.

    Also, I tweaked the comments preferences, and I don’t think you have to input your email anymore (you can just skip that field).

  7. Simona
    01/27/2009

    Awesome thank you!

    Also, thanks for converting the quarts to cups. Very helpful!

    I think next time I may add some potatoes to the mix.

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