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An Autumn Albóndigas Soup

“Do you have a kinder, more adaptable friend in the food world than soup? Who soothes you when you are ill? Who refuses to leave you when you are impoverished and stretches its resources to give a hearty sustenance and cheer? Who warms you in the winter and cools you in the summer? Yet who also is capable of doing honor to your richest table and impressing your most demanding guests? Soup does its loyal best, no matter what undignified conditions are imposed upon it. You don’t catch steak hanging around when you’re poor and sick, do you?”
-Judith Martin (Miss Manners) 

There is no denying my love affair with soup, especially when summer melts into crisp autumn, and it starts to get cold out. I could ladle up  soup for dinner, rain or shine, seven days a week! There is just something so comforting about it, along with a piece of crunchy bread. Typically speaking, soup has quite a reputation  for being an easy to make, one-pot meal. There is no doubt that this blog will incorporate plenty of savoy soup recipes… so get your pots ready folks!

Today I will share with you Albóndigas, or Mexican meatball soup. It is claimed to be Mexico’s ultimate ‘mommy soup’, similar to the American chicken noodle soup, even though the  ingredients are quite different. This soup incorporates spices and vegetables central to many Mexican dishes, like oregano, tomato, cilantro and onion. My version below has been modified a bit from the traditional way of making this historic soup, by substituting ground beef for ground turkey breast.

I hope this soup gently carries you through the changing of the seasons, whisking you away with its aromatic and rich broth.

*Autumn Albóndigas Soup*

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup uncooked rice (either long or short grain will work fine, just NO instant!)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (I typically add about 1/4 cup because I love this fragrant herb!)
  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 carrots, cut into rounds
  • 1 Serrano chile, kept whole
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste, (or roughly half of the tiny can it comes in)
  • 12 cups chicken stock (or 3 boxes of it) —> use a big pot!
  • 2 zucchini, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • corn tortillas (however many you think you will eat!)

Directions

1.In a heavy, and very large pot, heat the olive oil over low heat as you dice the onion into small-sized pieces.

2. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Cool slightly, and turn the fire off.

3. In a medium bowl, mix together the ground turkey, rice, cilantro*, dried oregano, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.

*If you don’t like cilantro, feel free to sub with 1 tablespoon of fresh mint (very traditional), oregano, or fresh basil, or 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley.

4. Add half of the cooked onions to the turkey mixture, leaving the other half in the pot. Using the best tools in the kitchen (aka: your hands), to combine all ingredients.

5. Shape the meat mixture into (1-inch) meatballs. (You should roll roughly 22 meatballs).

5. Next, add the 12 cups of broth to the onions in the pot, and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes while you’re peeling and chopping your carrots.

6. Add in the tomato paste. (You might need to whisk the tomato paste after adding it to the broth to make sure it is thoroughly combined.)

7. Once whisked together, add the chopped  carrots and the whole Serrano chile, and bring to a rapid boil. ( DO NOT CUT THE CHILE, unless of course you want a very spicy soup!)

8. Add in, (one by one), your beautifully rolled albóndigas or balls, to the boiling broth and cook for an additional 30 minutes.

9. Add the diced zucchini 20 minutes before your ready to eat!

10. Season the soup with salt and pepper, to taste, adding slices of fresh avocado to each bowl, and serving with warm tortillas. (Tip: I actually think tortillas taste best once they have been put in the toaster for a couple of minutes. You can also warm them in the oven or microwave).

Why I like this recipe:

I like this recipe for its rich and tomato laden broth. Also, the longer you cook it, the more the broth reduces down, and the more intense the flavors become. I also love how tender the meatballs turn out by adding rice and boiling them. I hope you enjoy this warm and cozy albóndigas soup as much as I do! ¡Buen provecho mi amigos!


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