This is the “go to” rainy day soup in the majority of Mexican homes. Except mine, I guess. Yes, I am Mexican. That said, I can’t remember ever having eaten Albondigas–ever. I know, I know. My Mexican friends were aghast when I told them, too. But on rainy days or when we were sick, we were treated to my mom’s Potato and Rice Soup. Also, I see Albondigas on the menu in every Mexican restaurant I visit, but still, I have never had the desire to try it. Probably because of the meat– I feel it would be too filling as an appetizer. And now, having had it, I was right. But, as a main course–delish!! I am missing out no more!
The first time I had Albondigas was when I was staying with Daughter #2 in Colorado and her neighbor brought us meatball soup for dinner. It was the neighborly gesture that usually occurs with a new baby in the house. Grandchild #17 had just been born. Her neighbor is not Mexican and what she made was not technically Albondigas, but I could not get enough of her delicious soup. I was hooked from that day forward. She used ground turkey and I loved it, but I am using the traditional ground beef here. I’ve also seen the recipe made with part ground beef and part ground pork. As with all recipes, it just depends on your personal preference. I accompanied my Albondigas with corn tortillas. It doesn’t get any better than that. Now I am complete.
- 1-1/2 lbs. ground beef
- 1 egg
- ½ cup rice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 3-4 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 4-5 carrots, peeled and diced
- 4-5 stalks celery, diced
- 1 zucchini, sliced and cut in half
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 small zucchini, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large can tomato sauce
- 1 small can El Pato spicy tomato sauce (optional)
- 1 more teaspoon salt
- ½ bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
- In a mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the ground beef, egg, rice, salt and pepper. Form into small meatballs.
- In a dutch oven or large pot, add the potatoes, carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Add the tomato sauce and if you like it spicy, add a small can of El Pato spicy tomato sauce. Add about 12 cups of water. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer and add the meatballs and cilantro. Add another teaspoon salt. Simmer on low for 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
Et cetera: As I contemplated making Albondigas for the first time, I asked several of my friends what they loved about Albondigas. They all had slightly different versions, but the one thing they all agreed on was the tradition and comfort of knowing that on a rainy day, they would be having Albondigas. My friend asked her husband to write down his delicious recipe for me, and I did use it here as the base recipe. I added a few ingredients I picked up from other recipes, too. I noticed some added mint, some cilantro and some both. I prefer cilantro. Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Delcid for this delicious recipe! Ummm-mmm!!!