Food can evoke memories of family and provide clues about your ancestors. This post is part of my Discovering Family History through Food series.
Albóndigas soup is another dish that my Grandma ‘Tona used to make for her family. I don’t have any memories of eating her albóndigas soup, but my Dad does. Since he loves it so much and I like to cook I’ve tried many albóndigas recipes over the years.
Although the flavor is consistently good, I always seemed to fail when it came to the rice coming out of the meatballs and thickening the soup too much. This recipe solves that problem quite handily by soaking the rice before adding it to the meat mixture.
Here are some other tips:
- Use most of the seasonings in the meatballs, rather than the broth. Unless you are using homemade stock most of the flavor is going to come from the meatballs anyway.
- Take a hint from Italian cooks and brown the meatballs before placing them in the broth. You could skip that step to save time and still come up with a pretty great soup but browning adds depth to the flavor and color to the broth.
- If you are using the leftover cooking liquid from my carne seca recipe add water to it so that you end up with 8 cups of liquid.
- Find your signature flavor and add it to the recipe. If you don’t like the flavor of epazote or mint try mejorana or another herb.
Albóndigas Soup 2015 Edition
~Broth & Vegetables~
4 cups stock, preferably homemade
4 cups of water
1 14.5 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
2 small zucchini, diced
1/2 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
3/4 lb. ground beef
3/4 lb. ground pork
1/2 cup long grain white rice
1/4 cup fine breadcrumbs
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground mexican oregano
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp fresh marjoram (mejorana), finely chopped (substitute mint or epazote)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil for browning
- Put all 8 cups of the liquid (stock & water) and the can of tomatoes in a large stock pot and turn heat to low. Cover the long grain rice with boiling water and set aside for 20 minutes.
- Combine all of the albóndigas ingredients except for the rice and mix together. When rice has soaked for 20 minutes, add to the meat mixture and mix thoroughly. Roll up the albóndigas so that they are about 1 1/2″ in diameter and set aside.
- Heat oil in a heavy skillet and brown albóndigas 6 or so at a time. As each one is browned on all sides, put it aside to drain on a tray covered in paper towels for a few minutes, then place it into the liquid in the stock pot.
- After all albóndigas are in the soup, drain most of the fat from the skillet, leaving about 1 tbsp behind.
- Add the vegetables and onion into the skillet and saute. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to the soup pot.
- Simmer on low heat for about 1 hour. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.