This Albondigas soup recipe makes a traditional Mexican meatball soup; it’s hearty, flavorful and loaded with vegetables. No need to pre-cook the meatballs, just add them a few at a time to the boiling soup. (Watch the video below to see the process. It’s easy!) Serve the soup alone or alongside cheese quesadillas.
It’s true. I was just going on about this light and delicate French onion style leek soup. And here I am, less than a week later, telling you about meatball soup. My apologies.
But you see, here’s what April 1st brought us. No fooling. Suddenly Albondigas soup sounded just perfect.
The recipe I’m sharing today uses water as a base instead of stock. I’d made Albondigas years ago, and loved it, but hadn’t saved the recipe. All I remembered was that I’d taken the advice of someone who’d commented, “Albondigas should never have a broth base, it should be water.” Oddly enough this is true – I say oddly because I almost always use broth as a soup base. But for Albondigas and Caldo Verde, water is better. I’ve tried them both ways and stock blurs the other flavors. That said, it’s delicious with broth too if that’s your preference.
Though this soup is hearty, it’s not heavy. Yes, there are meatballs, but it’s also loaded with vegetables. And it makes a great dish to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. So maybe it’s a spring soup after all.
Albondigas Soup Recipe Video
For the Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot diced
- 3 ribs celery thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
- 6 cups water see recipe note #1
- 4 medium zucchini diced small
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt or more
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or more
For the Meatballs
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup cooked rice I used brown basmati
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
- 3/4 pound lean ground beef
- 1/2 pound uncooked chorizo sausage casings removed
- In a soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat until hot. Add onion, carrot and celery; cook and stir until onion is translucent. Add cumin, oregano, tomatoes, and water. Bring to boil.
- Meanwhile, make the meatballs. Crack eggs into a medium bowl and add cumin, salt and pepper; combine with a fork or whisk. Stir in rice and cilantro. Add ground beef and chorizo; mix with your hands until combined.
- Scoop out heaping tablespoons of the meatball mixture onto a non-stick or parchment lined baking sheet – into ragged little mounds that are close to the same size. Gently pick up one mound and roll it into a ball. Repeat with remaining mounds.
- While the soup boils, add meatballs steadily, one by one. (See recipe note #2) Once you've added all of the meatballs, wait 1 minute for meatballs to 'set,' then gently stir. Add zucchini and stir gently; keep at a high simmer for 8-10 minutes, until the zucchini is tender and meatballs are cooked through.
- Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
- Though I call for water, you can also use chicken or beef broth. If you do, note that you’ll want to adjust seasoning, i.e., salt to taste.
- I use both hands to add the meatballs quickly. Make sure the soup continues to boil as you add them to help keep the meatballs from falling apart.
- If you can’t find bulk, uncooked chorizo, look for uncooked chorizo sausages and remove the casing before adding to the meatball mixture.
- Ground beef and chorizo can vary a lot in fat content. If you have excess oil on your soup, skim it off with a ladle before serving.