A Deliciously Tasty Mexican Meatball Soup Recipe

Meatballs are truly the star of the Albondigas Soup, a Mexican meatball soup recipe that will encompass the flavors of the Mexican culture that will have you going back for seconds or even thirds. This is not a difficult dish to make and can easily be added to a weeknight rotation if you are looking for something new to try but use ingredients that everyone at the table will enjoy.

What are Mexican Meatballs?

Also known as Albondigas, Mexican meatballs consist of ground meat like traditional meatballs, but instead use raw white rice as a binder instead of breadcrumbs. These meatballs have been around for hundreds of years, and the soup has been elevated over time as something made with leftovers to create a meal at home to a Mexican delicacy you can enjoy when you are out. Rolling the meatballs and preparing them for the soup only takes a few herbs, rice, and meat of your choice.

Gather Your Ingredients

In order to make this Mexican meatball soup recipe, you will need the following ingredients from your local market and also out of your pantry.

  • Two tablespoons of olive oil
  • One chopped onion
  • Two tablespoons of minced garlic
  • Six cups of chicken or beef stock
  • Two cups of water
  • 2/3 cup of tomato sauce or puree
  • Two diced carrots
  • 1/2 pound of frozen green beans
  • 1/2 of frozen peas
  • One pound of ground beef or sausage
  • 1/3 cup of uncooked white rice
  • 1/2 cup of mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup of cilantro
  • One tablespoon of Mexican oregano
  • One teaspoon of cayenne
  • Salt and pepper to taste

These ingredients can be subbed out if you want to use different ground meat or mix them between sausage and beef. You can also use canned peas and green beans if you do not have frozen veggies. Just rinse them first to reduce the salt going into the soup.

If you have someone who doesn’t enjoy cilantro or isn’t a fan of the taste, you can add fresh parsley to your meatballs. Some folks have a taste mutation where the cilantro tastes like soap, which can ruin the dish for them.

Make Your Albondigas

You will need raw white rice, ground meat, cilantro, mint, and some black pepper to make your albondigas. Mix all these ingredients into a large bowl and then roll them out into even balls. If you see some with more rice than meat, separate it and roll it again until the rice is only about a third of the meatball.

The rice will help keep the meat tender, but too much rice in the meatball will also break it apart. When you roll out these meatballs, put them on a baking sheet so they have room to spread out and not touch each other. They are delicate and can easily fall apart with too much movement after they have been rolled into the balls.

Build Your Soup

After gathering your ingredients and making your Mexican meatballs, it is time to start building your soup. This will not take very long, but you have a few steps you need to follow and pay close attention to when making the soup to keep the right texture during this process.

1. Dice up Your Veggies

Make sure you dice up your onion and carrot before cooking. You want to ensure the carrot is peeled first and then diced into similar squares to cook evenly in the soup.

Go ahead and get out your frozen veggies, let them through, and ready for the soup. If you opt for canned veggies, dump them all into a colander and rinse them under cold water. This gets all the unwanted salt and preservatives off of the veggies and away from the soup.

2. Time to Cook

Bringing out your large soup pot, turn on your burner to medium heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil has started to heat up, it is time to add in the onion first, letting ti cook for a minute or two, then the garlic. Give it another minute and stir before moving forward.

3. Build the Base

Once the onions are translucent, it is time to bring in the base of the soup. Add in the veggies, the tomato sauce or puree, broth, and water to the pan. You want to give it all a good mix, and then season the soup base. Add in the Mexican oregano and let it continue to cook for about five minutes.

4. Add Your Meatballs

Now it is time to add in the meatballs to the soup. Once you add them in, you cannot stir the soup because it is so delicate. You need to gently place them in the soup with a spoon so that the hot liquid doesn’t jump up on you. Once all the meatballs have been placed in the soup, turn the heat up to a medium high so you can get a rolling boil going on the soup.

5. Simmer and Serve

Once you see a steady boil developing, cover your soup, turn the burner down to a simmer and set your timer for 30 minutes. It will take about a half hour for the raw meatballs to cook through and all the flavors in the soup to develop. Take this time to wash up the dishes in your kitchen and gather your serving bowls for the soup.

One the timer goes off, add that teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the soup and gently blend it in without touching the meatballs. Go ahead and turn off your soup, and begin ladling it into bowls so that you can serve to friends and family that may be dining with you.

Store Your Leftovers

If you have leftovers of this soup afterward, let it cool completely and store them. If you are planning to enjoy it in the next few days, you can store it safely in the refrigerator up to four days. After that time, you will want to toss anything left over.

If you are not planning to eat it immediately, add the cooled soup to freezer-safe bags and store it in your freezer for up to two months. The meatballs consistently will break down over time, so you still want to enjoy this soup sooner rather than later.

This soup is easy to make and is an excellent accumulation of items you may already have in your pantry. It is also easy to change the different vegetables in the soup, adding more starchy options or greens for a low-carb version.

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