Albóndigas Soup

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This is Albóndigas Soup, a.k.a Mexican Meatball Soup.  The deeply flavored broth is spiked with chipotles and adobo sauce.  You can certainly add as much or as little of this as you like.  You can even omit the chipotle, but don't skip out on the adobo sauce.  It adds a wonderful smoky kick.  The meatballs are made from a mixture of beef and pork to which crushed tortilla chips and an egg are added as binders.  I baked the meatballs instead of par-boiling them to achieve a nice crust.  Simmer the broth and meatballs together with added carrots, zucchini, and rice.  There is so much going on in each spoonful that you may not taste the same flavor combination twice in one bowl.  You'll find the red broth pulling you back for more.    

Albóndigas Soup
serves 6

For the Soup
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
6 cups beef stock
2 cups canned crushed tomato
1 small chipotle chile, minced (optional)
1-2 teaspoons adobo sauce
2 medium carrots, grated
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup grated zucchini
1/4 cup uncooked rice

For the Albóndigas
1/2 pound ground beef
1/4 pound ground pork
1/4 cup grated zucchini
1 extra large egg
1 garlic clove, minced
4 corn tortilla chips or one stale corn tortilla processed into crumbs
1 Tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican

Chopped fresh cilantro
Crumbled Queso Fresco

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat.  In the oil,  sauté the onion and garlic with the oregano and cumin until the onion is soft and translucent.  Add the stock, tomatoes, chipotle, adobo, carrots, and salt (zucchini and rice will be added later).  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the soup for 20 minutes while you make the albóndigas.

Preheat the oven to 350º F. Lightly grease a large baking sheet; set aside. In a bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients and mix well.  Form into small balls, about 3/4-inch in diameter.  Place the meatballs on the baking sheet and bake until browned and cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.  Remove the meatballs from the baking sheet and drain on paper towels.  Add the meatballs, along with the reserved zucchini and rice, to the soup.  Continue to simmer for 30 minutes.  Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and Queso Fresco.  

*Note- With any leftovers, the rice in the soup will absorb more moisture.  Just thin it out to desired consistency with a little more broth, reheat and enjoy again.

Source: Adapted from The Border Cookbook, by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison via Use Real Butter


  1. Nicole, This is my kind of recipe. I already have the chipotle peppers in the freezer. I am pretty sure my whole family will really love this. I'll let you know. But first I have to figure out how to say the name because that's the first thing my husband will ask. "What's this called?"

  2. Paula: based on U.S. English pronunciation, it would be most like [ahl-BOAN-dee-gahs] (stress/emphasis on the capitalized syllable.

    This soup looks amazing. I have bookmarked the recipe.

  3. I just love meatballs in any form, but these sound extra special, I love the idea of the shredded zucchini and processed tortillas. Can't wait to make it!

  4. I've been craving Albóndigas soup for the longest time... so when I saw this recipe, I jumped on it. It was a HUGE hit with hubby and me.

  5. Karen-
    I am so pleased you and your husband enjoyed the soup. It is a new fav in our house!


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