Sopa de Albóndigas

wp-16546484229672954034199974160750

This simple yet hearty soup of meatballs and vegetables yields a bowl of satisfying Mexican comfort food that can be further customized many different ways.

Every state in Mexico has its own variation of sopa de albóndigas (literally, “meatball soup”) but there are some common factors. Ground beef is the preferred protein, plentiful in the northern regions, but ground pork can be added for taste and texture. Masa harina is used here as a binder, lending its flavor as well as a finer texture to the formed meat. If unable to be sourced, finely chop some dry corn tortillas in a food processor as a substitute as they are essentially the same.

The other common factor is the presence of mint, used either to flavor the broth or included in the meatball itself. This soup is not highly spiced like many other Mexican dishes but it is the milder herbal elements of fresh cilantro and mint that give this dish its home-style, comforting nature. It is a perfect balm for colder weather, and freezes very well.

Most any combination of chopped vegetables can be used, from potatoes to chayote to any squash or root vegetable, with zucchini a common favorite. For more starchy vegetables like tubers or carrots, add them earlier to cook through completely; for lighter or more delicate squash like zucchini, only a short boil in the broth is necessary.

Serve this soup piping hot with plenty of fresh corn tortillas slathered with melted butter and a pinch of salt.


Sopa de Albóndigas

QTY 

MEASURE 

INGREDIENT 

PREPARATION 

2 

clove 

Garlic 

Minced 

2 

 

Scallions 

Chopped 

1 

 

Carrot 

Sliced 

 

 

Onion, yellow 

Roughly chopped 

1 

 

Potato, Yukon Gold 

Peeled, diced 

1 

 

Zucchini 

Chopped 

 

 

Cilantro (fresh) 

Finely chopped 

14.5-oz 

can 

Tomatoes (diced) 

 

4-oz 

can 

Chiles, green 

 

4 

cup 

Broth, beef 

 

1 

 

Bay leaf 

 

 

 

Oil, canola 

 

 

 

Pepper, black 

 

 

 

Salt 

 

For the meatballs: 

QTY 

MEASURE 

INGREDIENT 

PREPARATION 

1 

lb 

Beef, chuck 

Ground 

1 

tbsp 

Mint (fresh) 

Finely chopped 

¼  

cup 

Masa harina 

 

½  

tsp 

Garlic powder 

 

 

 

Pepper, black 

 

 

 

Salt 

 

1 Combine the meatball ingredients and ¼ cup water, then form into meatballs about 1-inch in diameter. Briefly fry in a hot pan with a little oil until just browned, then set aside. Sauté the zucchini in the same pan until lightly seared, then set aside. 

2 Sauté the garlic and half the onion with a little oil over medium heat until soft, about 5 min. Add the tomatoes and broth, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and purée until smooth. 

3 Sauté the other half of the onion in the same pan until soft, about 5 min. Add the broth, chiles, meatballs, rice and bay leaf, and bring to a low simmer. Add the carrot and potato, and continue to cook over low heat, covered, for 20 min. 

4 Add the cilantro and zucchini, and season to taste. Finish with the chopped scallions. 

Yield: 4 servings

Updated 07 June 2002

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s