Albondigas - Mexican Meatball Soup

I know, I have posted a lot of Mexican style soups to this blog. But I swear this one is different. I came up with the recipe after reading a few variations and the result was so full of flavor and different from traditional tortilla soups, that I had to share. The broth has a ton of body and bold flavor. And let's get serious, the meatball is having a moment and this soup let's it shine. With holiday cooking and snow on the way, this soup works perfect for nights in when you could use a break from the usual rich and sugary fare.  And though it packs some nutritional punch, it feels decadent and satisfying. Just the way I like my soup.

Albondigas - Mexican Meatball Soup
Forks & Amusement 2011
serves 6

For the Meatballs:
1 egg
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 lb ground beef
1/4 lb chorizo (ground pork if you cannot find, but add some spice if you use it)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all the ingredients, except the meat in a bowl. Add in the meat and gently incorporate the meat so that everything is well combined, but not over worked. Use hands or fork. Place heaping teaspoons of the mixture, gently rolled into balls, onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through. Set aside.

For the Soup (can start making while meatballs cook):
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Anaheim or other green chili variety, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
6 cups beef stock
2 cups crushed tomatoes
1 - 7oz can chipotle peppers, chopped (deseed if you do not like spice)
1 to 4 teaspoons adobo sauce from the can of chipotle peppers, depending how spicy you like it
2 carrots, grated
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup grated zucchini
1/4 cup uncooked rice
juice of one lime
chopped fresh cilantro and grated cheese for garnish

Heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium heat and sauté the onion, chili, garlic, oregano, and cumin until vegetables are soft. Add the stock, tomatoes, chipotle, adobo, carrots and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes. Add the zucchini and rice and simmer for an additional 30 minutes, until rice is tender. Add in the meatballs and lime juice and heat through. Taste and adjust for seasoning (salt, pepper, more adobo, hot sauce?). Serve hot and garnish with the cilantro and cheese if desired.


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