It’s raining in Los Angeles and people are acting like the world is coming to an end. I love the rain and think it’s perfect weather for a warm, hearty bowl of Albóndigas or meatball soup.
Albóndigas originated in Spain and means a meatball soup that can be either light or spicy with a bit of tomato broth. Of course, every Latino family has their own, unique recipe or version of this soup.
The unique balance of fresh herbs, tomato broth, and spices gives this recipe for albóndigas soup its simple, yet delicious flavor. Eating this soup takes me back to a time in my childhood when my mom would call me in from playing outside on a chilly day. I’d take off my heavy, winter coat with my fat little body sweating underneath all those layers and inhale the aroma of the albóndigas soup. That was heaven for me. My mom served small bowls of Mexican rice with the soup and homemade salsa with warm flour tortillas and butter. Our family would add the amount of salsa or heat tailored to our palates. It was a perfect dinner to warm our bodies and our heart.
1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef (It’s important to buy lean)
1 large egg
3/4 cup white rice
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
1/8 teaspoon oregano, crushed
1 ½ cups Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, stems removed and chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cups of water + 3/4 cup
32 ounces chicken broth
1 cup potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup carrots, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon
1 teaspoon cumin, ground
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
Salt to taste
Combine beef, egg, rice, onion, cilantro, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix well by hand. Roll about two tablespoons of ground beef mixture in your hands carefully shaping it into a 1-inch meat balls the size of a golf ball.
In a medium skillet, add olive oil. When oil is hot add the meatballs to brown, but not cooked all the way through. Be careful not to overcrowd the frying pan.
Boil the water and chicken stock in a large saucepan. Add the carrots, celery, and cumin. Cook for about 20 minutes. Gently place meatballs in boiling liquid. Bring back to a boil and then set to simmer for another 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
Ladle soup with about 5 albóndigas per bowl. Garnish with cilantro sprigs, lime wedges, and serve with warn tortillas. If you would like your soup spicy add a spoonful of your favorite homemade salsa.