It was a bit cold in the evenings a few weeks ago and Mr. Wonderful wanted some soup to warm up, so I decided to make Albondigas (Meatball) soup again. This recipe is adapted from here. The key is fresh herbs from the garden and great broth! This version has no bread crumbs which still works great and is gluten-free!
1/2 cup cooked rice
salt to taste
1 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon dried pepper flakes
1/4 + 1/4 cup fresh oregano, minced
1/4 + 3/4 cup onions, chopped (divided)
1/2cup minced fresh cilantro
1/4 – 1/2 cup of oil (i used grape seed oil)
1/2 cup chopped carrots
2 Tablespoons garlic powder
1 – 15oz can diced tomatoes
3 quarts beef broth
2 cups chayote, cubed
1 1/2 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper2 Limes, wedges
Prepare the meatballs: Mix first 5 ingredients, 1/4 cup oregano, 1/4 cup onions, and 1/4 cup cilantro in a bowl and make 1″ meatballs. You can stick them in the freezer for 10 minutes to harden them up a bit if they’re too mushy, but if you work quickly, you can heat up your dutch oven while your making the meatballs and toss them to pan fry it with a bit of oil on medium high heat. Brown on all sides. It’s not necessary to make sure the insides aren’t pink because you will be cooking it in the soup later. Do this in 2 or 3 batches, you don’t want to overcrowd your pan because they won’t brown properly. The brown crispy bits when frying will give the soup a really good flavor!
Tip: I pan fry a small sample of the meat and try it to see if there is enough seasoning and adjust accordingly, before frying all the meatballs.
When all the meatballs are done, reserve some of the drippings from the pot and add the rest of the onions, carrots, and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes or until the onions are see through, then add the tomatoes, broth, and the rest of the oregano. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Add the chayote, meatballs, salt and pepper. Lower the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the chayote is fork tender. Take a taste of the soup and adjust with salt and pepper.
Serve with cilantro and lime. Enjoy and warm up.
I like using chayote because it has a neutral flavor and picks up the flavor of the soup nicely without overpowering any of it’s flavor to the soup. If you don’t have chayote, use any other summer squash you like.
Double the batch of meatballs to save time the second time around, for another quick fix of this awesome soup. Lay the second batch of meatballs separately on a cookie sheet and stick it in the freezer. After a few hours (when it’s frozen), I seal them up in a ziplock.