The recipe is quite versatile, add as many vegetables as you like or leave them out entirely. I adapted it slightly, according to our tastes, but what makes Albondigas memorable is the tiny bit of mint added to the meatballs and the broth. Having finally tasted it myself, I understand why this is the recipe that I receive so many requests for every fall. I wish I hadn't waited so long to try it!
Albondigas Soup ~ Mexican Meatball Soup
Yield: 12 servings
1 teaspoon light olive oil
1 very large yellow onion, chopped small, about 2 cups
2 large cloves garlic, minced
3 quarts beef broth, or 3 quarts water plus 5 tablespoons beef base
2 14 ounce cans tomato sauce
1 teaspoon chili powder, this is just enough to provide flavor with very little heat
1/2 teaspoon dried mint
1 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1 teaspoon dried mint
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Additional salt, to taste, I used an additional teaspoon or so
Optional: diced vegetables of your choosing, carrots, peas, corn, green beans, summer squash
Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the onions and saute over medium high heat until translucent. Add the garlic and continue cooking until the onions are lightly browned. Add the broth, tomato sauce, chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon mint and bring to a boil.
Combine the beef, pork, rice, eggs, remaining mint, salt and pepper. Use your hands to mix it together gently, but thoroughly. Use a teaspoon or a small scoop to make 60-80 small meatballs. Scoop a small amount, roll it into a ball and carefully drop it into the soup pot. Stir very gently after every few meatballs, just to make sure none of them are sitting on the bottom. (Once they start to cook, the meatballs will float on the top.)
After all the meatballs have been added, simmer an additional 30 minutes. (If you are adding vegetables, add them at this time.) When the soup is almost ready, taste the broth and adjust the seasonings to taste. Depending on the broth you use, you might need to add as much as 2 teaspoons additional salt. Enjoy!
FREEZER TIP: Let the soup cool completely before transferring to freezer safe containers. Soup can be heated in the microwave or it can be thawed first and then reheated on the stove-top.
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