This is a sleeper recipe on the site so I am reposting it! It doesn't get much attention, probably because of the strange name, but it's a real treat and I hope more of you consider making it.
Yes, the meatballs are technically the star of this Albondigas Soup, but it's the veggies that have the potential to turn it into a repeat recipe.
Add in some potatoes and carrots, or even a handful of rice, and you've got a hearty, satisfying meal that reaches far beyond the meatballs! There's lots of flexibility on the veggies too, so feel free to add in any others that you're craving.
How To Make Albondigas Soup
The other wingman in this recipe is the tomato broth.
You may recognize it as the broth from the delightful Chicken Tortilla Soup. It's a common base for Mexican soups and there really should be a designated name for it. Maybe Souper Broth?!
Basically, you are sweetening up some onions and blending them with roasted tomatoes and garlic. Add them to a trustworthy stock along with seasoning and you've got a Souper foundation for an authentic dish.
We'll start by roasting 4-5 tomatoes.
There's an extended simmer coming up so it's not crucial to roast the tomatoes all the way, so I usually just plop them in a 400F oven until I need them.
Meanwhile, saute 1.5 onions and 4-5 whole garlic cloves in a glug of oil over medium heat.
Let the onions cook until they start to brown. I usually give them a pinch of salt at this point too.
Add the onions and garlic to a blender along with the roasted tomatoes and a single chipotle in adobo. Combine well.
I like this soup best when the heat is mild. A single chipotle will give you just a whisper of heat in the final product, but of course you can always amp it up by adding more chipotles.
If possible, try to get your hands on some stock that you trust. I'm using some homemade vegetable stock for this batch, but chicken stock works really well too.
Before adding the broth we'll sweat the veggies for a few minutes to get 'em started.
So in the above pic you've got:
1/2 cup white rice
1 large potato
Let these saute in some oil for a few minutes and give 'em a pinch of salt. And keep in mind that you've got leeway on the veggies; feel free to add in anything else that you're craving.
Add the blender puree to the veggies along with 10-12 cups of stock. I usually pour some stock into the blender to rinse it out.
Since we'll be simmering the meatballs in the broth, you could probably get away with using water as the base, but good stock really does make it taste better so I think it's worth adding it in.
We'll also add:
2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
1.5 teaspoons salt
freshly cracked black pepper
Bring this to a boil and then add the meatballs.
This is an all-beef version of the Mexican Meatballs from a few weeks ago. They are loaded with plenty of mint, giving them a bright, fresh flavor.
You could also sub out some of the ground beef for pork if you want. I'll put details on making these meatballs in the recipe box below, but basically you're just combining the following ingredients and rolling them into 1" diameter meatballs:
1.5 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup chopped mint leaves
1/4 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup cooked rice
2 teaspoons salt
freshly cracked black pepper (approx. 1/2 teaspoon)
We're also rolling these meatballs a little smaller in hopes of making them more of a team player in this dish -- I got 27 meatballs from 1.5 lbs. of ground beef in this batch.
And yes, this is a mondo batch of soup and will easily serve 4-5 people if not more. You could always cut the recipe in half for a smaller batch, or simply store some of the uncooked meatballs in the fridge for future Meatball Sandwiches.
Gently add the meatballs to the broth.
Reduce heat to a simmer.
They'll need about 10-15 minutes to fully cook, depending on how big they are. You can break one open to confirm it's cooked all the way through, or you can use a thermometer to check that the insides are at least 160F.
Keep in mind that you always have the option of browning the meatballs first before adding them to the broth (as seen in the Mexican Meatballs recipe). You'll get some fat coming out of the meat during the simmer, and while it adds great flavor it could get greasy if you're using higher fat ground beef. I used a lean ground beef for this batch and that's a perfect fit for cooking them in the broth.
Definitely take a final taste for seasoning. I added another few pinches of salt to this batch, but keep in mind that this is dependent on which stock you use. Homemade stocks will probably need more seasoning than store-bought stocks.
Serve immediately and be sure to get lots of the veggies in each serving bowl as they tend to sink to the bottom in the saucepan. The rice and potatoes are delicious because, well, they've been simmering in Souper Broth!
And a final burst of acidity works really well with this Albondigas Soup. A squeeze of lime does the trick for me, but you could also add a few drops of hot sauce if you want.
Okay, let me know if you have any questions about this sleeper recipe -- and keep that Souper Broth in mind for future dishes, it's such a great base that you could nearly eat it on its own.
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- 4-5 tomatoes
- 1 1/2 onions
- 4-5 garlic cloves
- 1 chipotle in adobo
- 1-2 potatoes
- 1/2 cup rice
- 1-2 carrots
- 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 10-12 cups stock
- fresh cilantro
- lime wedges
For the meatballs:
- 1 1/2 lb. ground beef
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup chopped mint leaves
- 1/4 onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup cooked rice
- 2 teaspoons salt
- freshly cracked black pepper
- Start by roasting 4-5 tomatoes in the oven at 400F. (Normally they need about 20-30 minutes to fully roast, but I usually take them out when I need them because there's an extended simmer coming up.)
- You'll need 1/2 cup chopped mint for the meatballs. Pull the leaves off of 8-10 mint sprigs. Rinse and finely chop them.
- Add the mint to a large mixing bowl along with 1.5 lb. ground beef, 2 eggs, 1/4 onion (finely chopped), 3 minced garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and 1/2 cup of cooked white rice. Combine well and then use your hands to form meatballs that are approximately 1 inch wide. Keeping your hands wet will help if the mixture is sticky.
- Saute 1.5 roughly chopped onions and 4-5 whole, peeled garlic cloves in a dollop of oil over medium heat. Cook until the onion is starting to brown.
- Add the onion, garlic, roasted tomatoes, and a single chipotle in adobo to a blender. Combine well.
- Finely chop the potatoes and carrots. Add them to a large saucepan along with 1/2 cup of uncooked rice and sweat them in some oil over medium heat for a few minutes. Season with a pinch of salt.
- Add the blender puree to the veggies along with 10-12 cups of stock, 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano, 1.5 teaspoons salt, and some freshly cracked black pepper. Raise heat and bring to a boil.
- Gently add the meatballs and reduce heat to a simmer. The meatballs will need approx. 10-15 minutes to cook dependent on how big they are, but I simmered this batch for 20-25 minutes to give the veggies time to cook.
- Take a final taste for seasoning. I add another generous pinch of salt to this batch.
- Serve immediately with freshly chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime. Be sure to get lots of veggies in the serving bowls.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.
We also use the Souper Broth in our Sopa de Fideo.
Psssst....here some great Cinco de Mayo recipes for this weekend. Enjoy!
And our latest recipe is a batch of Chicken Flautas dipped in Avocado Salsa Verde.
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Can u cook this in a crockpot? And if so, how long?
Hi Rachael! Sorry I can't give a better answer, but I haven't tried this one in a slow cooker yet. Will add it to my list though. Cheers.
I’ve made it in the crockpot and it was delicious! I didn’t sweat the veggies or roast the tomatoes, I threw them in raw because I didn’t have time. I didn’t purée the anything in the blender because I knew it would break up during the longer simmer. I also subbed chipotle powder for the whole chipotle. I threw a few raw meatballs in to simmer all day and pan fried the rest which I added shortly before eating. Even with all the modifications I made it was incredibly delicious.
Hey thanks much for your note Michele, that is so helpful! Cheers.
Tomatoes aren't good this time of year,what size can of fire roasted tomatoes should be used?THX
Hi there, if using canned tomatoes I would probably go with 1.5 lbs. Cheers.
I was making albondigas all wrong until I read this recipe, I still go off book a lot, just depending on whatever I have in the house, but the tomato-chipotle-onion starter simply changed the game! Thanks for teaching this to me!
Ahh good to hear this Andrea! Cheers.
I'm so happy I found your website! I moved to New England from South Texas 20 years ago and even though I love it here, I miss the ubiquity of authentic Mexican food and have had to try to recreate my favorites through trial and error. Many of your recipes are exactly what I'm looking for! I haven't been able to get the pickled jalapeños and carrots right until I found your recipe!
Thank you so much for making the recipes available.
Hey thanks much for your note JL, so glad to hear you are finding some keepers on my site! Cheers.
The roasting of the tomatoes, garlic & onion to go in with the stock broth really gives this soup the flavor I was looking for. Its what sets it all up to be a winner & repeat request for dinner in my house.
Thanks Justina, yeah that broth is the key! Cheers.
This tomato-broth base is a game changer! Loved it! thanks
Ha, yeah I agree 🙂
This is one of my favorite soups!
Me too 🙂
Hello Patric.. Thank you for sharing you Abondigas recipe. Wonderful. I substitute white rice with brown rice, and substitute potatoes with zucchini. Healthier for me. A note about the mint.. it is too strong in some dishes but in abondigas it is a perfect balance. I like to make sure every ball gets some mint... I skip the cilantro.. Delish.
Ahh great, thanks much for mentioning your adjustments Liz! Cheers.
Can I use turkey with the same ingredients instead, and yellow squash?
Hi Esther! Yeah I think both of those will work well in this soup. Cheers.
The very first recipe that brought me to this site, and still one of my absolute favorites. So delicious, I use chicken stock but I’ve made it with vegetable stock as well. Try different vegetables out and play with your heat levels for varying tastes. I love this recipe. Gonna have to make some this week.
Hey thanks much Brett, so glad you are getting some mileage from this recipe! Cheers.