Albondigas, or meatballs in Spanish, are the star of this hearty recipe. Make this for dinner tonight with a side of bread or a salad. Yum!
The sixth-century Spaniards who created this one were on to something because nothing says comfort like this warm and flavorful dish.
Made with both beef and pork, this recipe is teeming with delicious vegetables and of course, those plump meatballs which are bursting with satisfying authentic flavor.
Ingredients for Albondigas Soup
- Meatballs – While you could use frozen or premade, I always make mine from scratch. They come together quickly and are really what makes this dish so special.
- Long Grain Rice – After soaking the rice in boiling water for a few minutes, it plays double duty by making these meatballs more hearty and also helping the meat hold its shape.
- Ground Meat – I like to use half ground beef and half ground pork for the flavor the mixed meat gives. You can certainly use only one type of meat if you prefer.
- Mint Leaves – These are the essential herbs to give this recipe an authentic flavor. I can’t imagine my Albondigas without it. If you don’t have fresh mint, you can use dried, just cut the amount down to ⅓ of the fresh amount.
- Eggs, Onions, Garlic, and Seasonings – You’ll be processing these into a paste. This mixture serves to season and also to bind the meat together.
- Chicharron – Also called friend pork rinds. You’ll be reducing these to crumbs to add flavor and more moisture to the meatballs than breadcrumbs would. You can usually buy Chicharron at your local grocery store.
- Tomato, Onion, and Garlic – These will be blended smooth and then fried and serve as the seasoning base for the recipe.
- Veggies – You can use many different vegetables, and depending upon the time of year, you may want to try some other types. I use potatoes, carrots, and zucchinis.
- Broth – You cannot have soup without the broth. Chicken or beef will both do well for this dish.
- Cilantro and Mint – These are added to the pot and simmered in to get a thorough and authentic Mexican flavor.
- Jalapeños – You’ll leave the stems on these chiles when preparing them and simply make one long slit from top to bottom in each pepper. These are simmered in for their flavor and heat. If you prefer a more mild flavor try using only one chile, or omit completely.
How to Make Mexican Meatball Soup
- Prepare the rice and chicharron and set them aside
- Blend everything else, (except the meat) into a paste
- Mix all ingredients together
- Shape into balls. This will make about 18 meatballs.
- Blend the tomatoes, onions, and garlic until they form a smooth paste then fry the mixture in a little oil before adding the broth.
- Simmer the veggies in the broth and seasoning mixture for a few minutes
- Add the meatballs and herbs and simmer for about 20 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.
Tips and variations
- This dish is hearty and filling enough to stand as a meal on its own, but is wonderful served with a side of bread, a salad, or tortilla chips.
- This Mexican soup recipe makes great leftovers. Simply reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
- And since we’re talking about soups, you’ll want to try Roasted Chile and Potato Soup or Shrimp Posole Verde
A Bit About Meatballs
Did you know:
Nobody knows for sure where the first meatball was made. The oldest written recipes come from the Ancient Romans who made meatballs out of Peacock and rabbit among other meats.
Nearly every culture has its own version of the meatball. In Spanish they’re called Albondigas, the Dutch have bitterballen and Greek keftedes, to name a few.
Meatballs were created to dress up tougher and cheaper cuts of meat, the meatball was a true peasant’s dish that also was a good way to use up stale bread. Oh, how far it’s come!
Being a nut about meatballs myself, I have an entire Meatballs section here on the site devoted to them!
Albondigas (Mexican Meatball Soup)
- 2 tbsp long grain rice
- 6 oz ground pork
- 6 oz ground beef
- 1 large egg
- 3 mint leaves
- 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 medium white onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup ground chicharron (fried pork rinds)
- 1/2 lb tomatoes rough chop
- 1/2 medium white onion rough chop
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 7 cups chicken broth or beef if desired
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 cups russet potato 1 peeled, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 3 medium carrots peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 large zucchini peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 jalapeño chiles leave stem on and make a slit from stem to bottom on each
- 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
- 2 tbsp mint leaves chopped
- In a small bowl cover rice with boiling water and soak for 20 minutes.
- Place 6 oz chicharron in food processor and pulse to crumb. Set aside.
- To a large bowl add both ground meats or 12 oz of just one.
- To a food processor add the egg, mint leaves, oregano, salt, pepper, cumin, onion and garlic. Process until smooth. Add to the ground meat along with the drained rice and ground chicharron. Blend thoroughly with spatula or hands. Divide the meat into 18 meatballs and set aside on a platter.
- To a food processor add the tomatoes, onion and garlic. Process until smooth. To a soup pot or Dutch oven add the oil over medium heat. Transfer the blended tomato mixture and cook for 5 minutes. Add the chicken or beef broth, salt and bring to a simmer, cooking 5 more minutes.
- Add the potatoes, carrots and cook another 8 minutes. Add the zucchini, chiles, meatballs and cilantro and mint. Cook covered over low heat for 20 minutes, and meatballs are cooked through and potatoes are fork tender.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.