We are three sisters united in our search for the divine - in food, libation, literature, art, and nature. This blog will capture the true, sometimes decadent, at times humorous, and every so often transcendent adventures of the Salvation Sisters.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sopa de Albondigas

by Michelle

   If I liked the phrase "twofer", I would use it here. Since I'm not going out of my way to incorporate it into the post, I will use it anyway. Yes, today you get two versions of Albondigas soup in one post. Mainly, I am doing this because I couldn't decide which recipe to use - my sister, Juliette's or my mother-in-law, Joan's. Both are excellent and I think you would be happy with the flavor in both styles.
   Juliette's, as is generally the  overarching rule with her cooking, is spicier than Joan's. So, if you like your food on the spicy side, go for Juliette's version. If you like your food milder, bet on Joan's. Or, you can be like me and do a combination of the two. With either choice, you can use ground turkey or ground beef for equally delicious results.

Albondigas Soup
   As with most soups, stews and chilis, the soup tastes best if made the day before and allowed to rest in the refrigerator overnight. Before reheating over low heat, skim and discard fat from the surface. Serve soup with hot tortillas, tortilla chips or sourdough bread.
   Also, if you prefer a thicker soup, add the cubed potatoes called for in Juliette's recipe. The potatoes partial break down during cooking and the dissolved potatoes thicken the soup.

About 6-7 quarts chicken broth, if making turkey meatballs
About 6-7 quarts filtered water, if making beef meatballs

For Joan's meatballs:
2-1/2 pounds ground turkey
1 cup white rice, uncooked
1/2 cup cornmeal
3 large eggs, whisked
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsps dried oregano, crushed or 1 tablespoon fresh, minced
2 tsps dried sage, crumbled or 1 tablespoon fresh, minced
2 tsps dried basil or 1 tablespoon fresh, minced
1/2 tsp dried mint or 3 leaves fresh, minced, optional
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
2 tsps sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper

For Juliette's Meatballs:
2-1/2 pounds ground beef (80% - NO leaner)
1/2 cup white rice, uncooked
1 Tbsp all purpose flour or 1/3 cup fine dried bread crumbs (sourdough of course!)
1 large egg, whisked
6 cloves garlic minced
1/4 cup diced roasted green chile or minced raw jalapeno
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp oregano
1 Tbsp ancho chile powder, or to taste
A smidge of chipotle powder for extra heat, optional
2 tsps sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Joan's Vegetables for the Soup:
1-2 medium leek, white and most of green, cut in half and sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
1-2 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch half moons
4-5 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
4-5 medium stalks celery, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes or fire-roasted tomatoes

Juliette's Vegetables for the Soup:
1 or 2 yellow onions, peeled and dicedsquash (Mexican Grey, zucchini, yellow crookneck, etc.), diced
1 to 2 medium crook neck (yellow) squash, sliced into 1/4-inch half moons
3 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
carrots, grated
spinach or arugula
green chiles, diced
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
green beans (fresh, canned or frozen)
corn (fresh, canned or frozen)
1 14-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes

cilantro leaves, stalks removed and discard 
lemon or lime wedges
Mexican cheese - Menonita melts nicely

1. In a soup pot, bring filtered water or chicken stock to a boil over high heat. In the meantime, mix together all the meatball ingredients and with wet hands roll into small, compact balls - about 1-inch around, or about the size of a unshelled walnut. The recipe makes about 52 meatballs.
2. Drop meatballs into the broth slowly to avoid splashing and so the meatballs won't stick together. Juliette adds each meatball to the broth as it is formed. Reduce temperature as needed to maintain a slow boil for 40 minutes. Skim and discard any scum that rises to the surface while simmering the soup. If using, chopped/cubed potatoes, add them now.
3. In a skillet, sauté vegetables for 10-15 minutes, until you can pierce the root vegetables easily with a fork, then add to the soup pot with the meatballs.
4. Taste broth; add more salt, pepper, and herbs, if needed.
5. Let each guest garnish his or her own bowl with cheese, fresh herbs, and lime or lemon wedges.


  1. Thank you so much. Gonna try this during the weekend. Brings back memories of some wonderful dishes my Mother used to make for us as children.


  2. I do a soup & a stew that I keep warm in a crock pot or on the burner all day on Christmas Eve/Christmas. Definitely trying this one this year! Thanks.


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