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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Gettin' Our Soup On: Sopa de Albondigas (Mexican Meatball Soup)

Nothing's better than soup on a cold winter's day, right?

Snowy weather = soup weather, right?

The 6th annual National Soup Swap Day was January 21st, 2012.

On January 20th, it looked like this at my house:

Which would be great for swapping soup, if we didn't live at the tippity top of this:

How high is that snow, you ask? Higher than a dachshund.

(A friend of mine pointed out that we didn't really need to have a leash on Xena, Warrior Princess Dog since she obviously wasn't going anywhere...) 

So... I called off the Swap for the 21st, and pushed it back a week until the 28th. We don't get snow very often here in Washington State, and when we do, we're really not that prepared for it. I love where we live, but if you don't a have a 4-wheel drive vehicle you're not getting anywhere near my house in the snow.

But, by last night, the snow was cleared and swappers were ready to do their thing. There were 6 of us in all, and we had a great time. At the end of the evening, I had scored some great soups! Residing in my freezer right now are a Shrimp Gumbo made in the Northern Louisiana tradition using file powder as the thickening agent. Nestled nearby is a Spicy Taco Soup made with elk meat (!!), and a Root Vegetable Bisque with parsnips, turnips, sweet potatoes, and carrots. And if that wasn't enough, I also scored a comforting Corn and Bacon Chowder (can't ever go wrong with bacon) and a gorgeous Purple Cabbage and Sweet Potato Soup made with coconut milk and peanut butter!

Lunch is going to be seriously tasty for awhile.

As for myself, I made Sopa de Albondigas, or Mexican Meatball Soup.

I fell in love with this soup while I was making it. The broth alone was so good I could've just sipped it all day long. I really think it has beaten out White Bean Soup with Kielbasa and Kale as my new favorite!

And it doesn't even have KALE in it!!!!  Who knew?

Sopa de Albondigas (Mexican Meatball Soup)

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 lb. lean ground pork
2 large eggs
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 c. chopped cilantro
1 t. dried oregano (preferably Mexican oregano if you can find it)
1/4 t. ground pepper
1/2 c. long-grained rice, uncooked

2 T. vegetable oil
2 large onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, pressed through a press
1 t. dried oregano (again, preferably Mexican oregano)
1 1/2 t. ground cumin
12 c. chicken broth
2 chipotle peppers, chopped, plus 1 T. of the adobo sauce it comes in
2 cans of diced tomatoes
3 large carrots, shredded
3 medium red potatoes, diced
1/4 c. chopped cilantro

To make the meatballs whisk the eggs in the bottom of a large bowl. Add the garlic, cilantro, oregano, and pepper and whisk together. Add in the meat and rice and mix together thoroughly. You're probably going to have to stick your hands in there to get it all mixed up. Form into small balls, around 1" in diameter. I actually used my small cookie scoop to portion them, then rolled in my hands to finish forming. Place on a cookie sheet, and when they're all formed put the whole tray in the fridge to firm up a bit while you make the broth.

For the broth: Heat the oil in the bottom of a large soup pot until shimmering. Add the onions, and sautee until tender and translucent, around 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, and cumin, and sautee another minute. Add all the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the potatoes and cilantro. Bring the broth to a boil, stirring occassionally. Reduce heat slightly and let broth simmer around 20 minutes.

Remove meatballs from fridge and add to the simmering broth, one at a time. Do this gently and carefully so you don't splash the broth all over the place. Add the potatoes, and simmer the soup for 30 minutes. Check meatballs for doneness - they should be cooked through and the rice should be tender. If it's not there, continue simmering until they are done. Adjust seasoning as needed, stir in the cilantro, and serve.

Garnish with any of your favorite Mexican accompaniments: diced avocado, fried tortilla strips, diced green onions, and sour cream. Or forget all of that and just eat it as is! (That's my preference.)

This makes a LOT of soup because I was making it for swapping. If you don't particularly want 26-28 cups of soup, feel free to halve it. :)


  1. So glad you had your Swap -- are you already planning for next year? We are! And we had a snowstorm on swap day, too, but hardy New Englanders that we are, we carried on. (And, of course, we all have 4-wheel-drive cars.) Love your meatballs in this soup.

  2. I'm glad we got it done too, Lydia! Next year is ON! :)