Albondigas – an easy version of the authentic Mexican meatball soup.
I first heard of Albondigas, Mexican Meatball Soup, when I watched “Fools Rush In”, a romantic comedy starring Matthew Perry (Alex) and Salma Hayek (Isabel). In the scene where the two of them are sitting in a dessert above the canyon and talking about different cultures they come from, Isabel mentioned how her grandmother made the best Albondigas soup.
Alex: I wanted you to be the first guest at our best table.
Isabel: I’m very honored. Alex, this is so romantic. The candles. And the wine… I mean, the milk. And pizza. It’s perfect.
Alex: Perfect would be if this was New York and that was a Gray’s Papaya Hot Dog.
Isabel: What’s a Gray Papaya?
Alex: Broadway and 72nd. Four blocks from my apartment. The best hot dog in the world.
Isabel: And if we were in Mexico, we would be eating… albondigas. They’re this sort of meatball soup. My great grandmother is famous for them. Alex, you have to come with me one day. You’d love it there. There are no phones, no electricity, no people.
Alex: No kidding?
Authentic traditional Mexican Albondigas soup is made by meatballs cooking in soup made with onions, carrots, potatoes, rice and tomatoes. My version is easier to make because it uses frozen vegetables so that almost no preparation is needed. This hearty soup can be made from scratch in a little bit more than 30 minutes.
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 cups tomato in sauce pelati
- 2 cups frozen vegetables (carrots peas, potatoes, corn, bell peppers, green beans)
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 medium zucchini diced
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 Tbsp fresh cilantro chopped
- a pinch or oregano
- a pinch of ground cumin
- salt black pepper
Saute onion in olive oil until translucent. Add garlic, tomatoes together with sauce, frozen vegetables, chicken broth and water. Cook for about 10 minutes.
Add zucchini, smoked paprika, fresh cilantro and meatballs.
MEATBALLS: Mix bread crumbs with egg and let stand for about 5 minutes. Add all other ingredients and knead briefly. Form walnut-sized balls and drop into hot soup.
Cook for about 20-30 minutes or until meatballs and veggies are cooked through. Serve with rice, garnish with lime wedges and cubed avocado (optional).