Mexican Meatball Soup / Sopa de Albondigas
(serves 6 )
2 lbs ground beef or 1 lb. each ground beef and ground pork
4 sprigs fresh finely minced epazote or ½ teaspoon dried epazote
2 garlic cloves, minced, plus 1 whole garlic clove
1 raw egg
½ cup breadcrumbs or cooked rice
½ white onion finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1-14 oz. can chopped, stewed tomatoes
½ Spanish white onion, chopped
3 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, canned (optional)
2 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
2 cups chicken or beef stock
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
3 cilantro sprigs
2 hard-boiled eggs
2-3 tbsp olive oil
- In a bowl, mix ground meat, epazote, minced garlic, lightly beaten raw egg, breadcrumbs or rice, finely chopped onion, salt, and pepper; mix well and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for a half hour.
- Meanwhile, mix tomatoes, ½ onion, garlic clove, and chipotle in blender until smooth. Heat oil in a saucepan; add blended sauce; and let it cook covered for 5–7 minutes over high heat. Add stock and herbs, bring to a slow boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 30-45 minutes, covered, until ready to use.
- Peel and quarter boiled eggs. Make meatballs 1-inch in diameter using the ground meat mixture. Make a hole with your thumb in the middle of each meatball and place a piece of hard-boiled egg in the cavity. Seal very carefully with a little more ground meat and roll until smooth.
- Sear meatballs in a sauté pan with the olive oil on a medium fire, turning so all sides are quickly browned. Bring tomato-chipotle stock back to a boil. Now, add meatballs into the stock and let them cook for 20-25 minutes on medium heat (cook on the longer side if you have used ground pork in your meatballs; add additional stock if needed. Serve hot meatballs with broth, top with chopped cilantro and avocado slices and beans on the side.
RIFFS: Try a roasted tomatillo-chile broth by replacing the canned tomatoes with a pound of tomatillos. You’ll want to remove the husks, wash the tomatillos and dry roast them on the comal until they blister, turning as they do so as to blister all sides and as the meat of the tomatillo begins to turn color. Replace chipotles with either jalapeño or Serrano chiles to taste (Serranos are much hotter, the jalapeños widely available in the markets in the US today are very mild, you may want to use some of each to achieve the level of spice you are looking for). You chiles should also be roasted on the comal before putting all ingredients in the blender (step 2, above).
(Note: this post is excerpted from my book, Celebraciones Mexicanas: History, Traditions and Recipes, co-author by Adriana Almazan Lahl)