Albondigas – Mexican Soup

Albondigas - Mexican Soup

This is a classic version of the popular Mexican soup. The meatballs provide protein, while rice adds whole grains to this healthful dish. If desired, you can use just beef instead of half beef and half pork.

Serves 6 – 8

1/2 cup rice
1 cup boiling water
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 white onions, finely chopped
8 ounces ground pork
8 ounces ground beef
2 eggs
1 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 12–ounce can crushed or chopped
tomatoes and their juice
1–1 1/2 quarts chicken broth
1 medium zucchini, diced


[1] In a medium bowl, combine the rice and the boiling water. Let it soak for 20 minutes. Put 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a small frying pan and sauté half of the onions until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

[2] In a large bowl combine the sautéed onion, pork, and beef. Add the soaked rice, eggs, half the cilantro, half the mint, the oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper. Mix to blend well. Moisten your hands with water and shape the mixture into meatballs about 1 inch in diameter.

[3] In a large pan over medium-high heat, heat the remaining oil and brown the meatballs lightly, about 15 minutes, or bake them at 350ºF on an oiled baking sheet for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add the remaining onions, celery, carrot, and garlic to the pan. Simmer until the celery is soft, abut 2 to 3 minutes, then add the tomatoes and the chicken broth. Bring to a simmer, then add the meatballs and the remaining mint. Simmer until the meatballs are firm (but not so long that they fall apart), about 1 hour.

[4] Season with salt and pepper, add the zucchini, and cook another 10 minutes. Garnish with the remaining cilantro.

Suggestion: Make the meatballs only, and serve with hot vegetables and beans, wrapped in a warm tortilla.