Feb 22, 2022

Caldo de Albóndigas (Mexican Meatball Soup)

When it comes to meatballs, I'm much more familiar with Asian style meatballs. My second best knowledge might be Italian meatballs. So when I first learnt about this Mexican dish caldo de albóndigas, I was intrigued by the ingredients used in making Mexican meatballs specifically for this recipe. My surprise point - rice was involved. To be clear, uncooked rice was used and blended together with ground meat. That's a fairly unfamiliar concept to me with my Asian meatball background.


However, the idea of mixing uncooked rice with ground meat actually sounds like a good approach to me, also a delicious one. The result proved me right. In fact, I couldn't really tell that there were rice in these meatballs if I didn't know ahead of time. The rice provided volume to the meatballs, it's hearty but not to a point too dense and tough at all. The grains actually helped binding the meat, also absorbed the seasonings and provided even more flavors to the meatballs. I absolutely adore it. Such a genius idea. 


Caldo de albóndigas (Mexican meatball soup) -


Caldo de albóndigas


Ingredients?

Meatballs:

  • 0.5 lb ground pork
  • 0.5 lb ground beef
  • 1/3 cup uncooked long grain white rice 
  • 1/4 medium small onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Stock:
  • 1 jar/500 grams tomato sauce
  • 4 1/2 cups chicken stock

Others:

  • 1 medium small carrot
  • 1 medium potato
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 small bundle cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Some lime or lemon wedges


How?

Peel and finely chop the onion. Peel and finely chop the garlic clove. Finely chop the mint leaves. Finely chop the cilantro, remember to separate the leaves and the stems.


Peel and dice the carrot, potato, and zucchini. Rinse the rice grains a few times then drain well.


To make the meatballs, prepare a big container first. Add in ground pork, ground beef, uncooked rice, chopped onion, chopped garlic, chopped mint leaves, 1 egg, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1//2 teaspoon of black pepper.


Ingredients for caldo de albóndigas

Mix all the ingredients till evenly blended. Form medium to medium small sized meatballs. This recipe makes about 10 to 12 meatballs.


Mexican meatballs

Use a big pot, drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and pour in the tomato sauce. Bring to medium small fire and wait till the sauce almost turn bubbling. Transfer the meatballs over one by one. Leave the meatballs undisturbed in the beginning till the shape starts to firm up.


Mexican meatballs in tomato sauce

Turn the meatballs and cook for a little bit more to further firm up the shape, it should take less than one minute. Pour in the chicken stock. Gently mix these ingredients and switch to medium fire, cook for about 5 minutes.


Add in chopped carrot and potato. Give it a gentle stir. Continue to cook for about 30 minutes.


Towards the end, add in chopped zucchini and chopped cilantro stems. Cook for 15 more minutes or till the zucchini reaches desired texture. Taste and adjust accordingly.


Adding zucchini to Mexican meatball soup

Scoop the soup to serving bowls. Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves and place one or two lime/lemon wedges on the side.


Caldo de albóndigas

This is such a hearty and comforting soup recipe. I especially love that extra refreshing touch from freshly squeezed lime or lemon wedges. The meatballs were to a point "fluffy." I guess if I have to describe the texture of the meatballs, it's kind of like what Asians do by mixing some tofu with ground meat. Yeah, that's right, both the rice and tofu share similar function of binding and absorbing flavors while providing volume with a softer bite.


Caldo de albóndigas

This Mexican meatball soup totally won me over and for sure I'm going to make it for my family over and over again. They love it too. 


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