Meatball Magic: Albondigas Soup Warms Your Soul!

Albondigas Meatball Soup

These Albondigas Soup or Mexican Meatball Soup is like a delicious hug in a bowl. While soups are obviously great for winter, this Albondigas soup is also wonderful in warmer months with its fresh flavours. Make the meatballs out of your favourite mince be it chicken, turkey, beef or pork! This is a pushy recipe Dear Reader.

The word "albóndigas" has its origins in Spain. It comes from the Arabic word "al-bunduq," which means "hazelnut." The term "albondigas" was originally used to describe small round meatballs that resembled hazelnuts in shape but over time it has become the word for meatballs.

Albondigas Meatball Soup

Tips For Making Albondigas Meatball Soup

1 - You can make this meatball soup recipe in two parts. Sometimes I make the meatball mixture and then keep it in the fridge overnight.

2 - The rice is used in place of breadcrumbs in the albondigas or meatballs. Remember, always make your meatballs with some breadcrumbs or rice because otherwise they will be heavy and dense.

Albondigas Meatball Soup

3 - You can make these albondigas with any type of mince. Try to avoid extra lean or lean mince as the meatballs will be dry if the meat is too lean. If you are looking for a lower fat mince go for turkey or chicken mince. I had some turkey mince in the freezer that I wanted to use up and they were absolutely delicious! I've also made it with chicken and (not low fat) pork mince and they were chef kiss fantastic.

4 - This soup tastes even better after a day or two!

What is Tajín and Why You Need It In Your Pantry!

Albondigas Meatball Soup

Ok I'm going to introduce you to one of the best seasonings ever (IYKYK! ;) ). Tajin is a Mexican seasoning for fruit made with chilli powder, lime and salt. It's spicy, salty and tangy and you sprinkle it on top of fruit to bring out the sweetness of the fruit. I actually love using Tajin in savoury cooking and it makes everything pop. Tajin is available at the supermarket and I promise you will love adding it to everything! Sprinkle it on top of buttered corn, add it to lamb or beef kebabs or put it on the rim of your margarita!

Albondigas Meatball Soup

Along with Tajin, I thought I'd share some of the more recent kitchen acquisitions aka "In My Kitchen" which is a monthly roundup hosted by the lovely Sherry where we share interesting and new kitchen items. The first picture is of the items that I purchased while in Napa Valley. I tried to avoid buying too much as I was travelling by myself and had to deal with a heavy bag but I couldn't resist a few items. I bought some chocolates from Earth and Sky chocolatier including two types of marshmallows. The passionfruit marshmallows were nice and tangy with a spongy texture while the chocolate coated marshmallows sat on a bed of nutty, chewy caramel. The chocolate bar and sugar dusted shortbread was in the farewell bag gift from The French Laundry in Yountville. And just before I got on the flight at SFO, I got some cheddar cheese popcorn from Napa Valley Farms shop because I love cheese popcorn. I also wanted to get some Model bakery English muffins but they were sold out so I got some peanut butter cookies instead.

Albondigas Meatball Soup

The next picture is of some items that I was given by a lovely reader Stuart via my neighbour Derek. When Derek mentioned I had moved into the street, Stuart sent some Russian garlic and turmeric which was so nice of him! It is organically grown on the mid north coast of NSW in Missabotti and I loved the big garlic cloves because they're so much easier to deal with than smaller cloves.

Albondigas Meatball Soup

The last couple of pictures are from a very recent haul. I spent the last few weeks in Thailand (I can't wait to share those stories with you!) and we brought back lots of snacks. The first pic are of the snacks that I bought for Monica - she and I always bring back snacks from holidays for each other and my picks for her include some of her favourite things like chicken skin chips, salted egg, mentaiko, sour lollies and gummies.

Albondigas Meatball Soup

The last picture is of the things that Mr NQN and I loved. What I discovered early on is that when things are truffle flavoured in Thailand, they do a really, really good job replicating truffle flavour (sometimes here in Australia, the truffle flavour is not as discernible). So I bought everything truffle flavoured I could get my hands on. Obviously they don't use real truffle because the chips are about $1-$2AUD a packet but they taste just like the real thing. My favourite were the straws with a truffle mayonnaise dipping sauce on the top left which were so good we bought a few packets as well as a tube of truffle mayonnaise. The truffle mung beans were really interesting - they're crispy crunchy like tiny croutons so are great for adding on salads. If you have a look at the jar it is of a Thai style fruit sauce (Nam Pla Wan). While in Hua Hin we came across a green mango snack with this delicious dipping sauce. The sauce is made with palm sugar, dish sauce, shallots, dried shrimp and chilli and honestly it is so addictive. Some days I'd just snack on green mango and this dip all day long for a healthy snack. It would be great to accompany any crudites really!

And that's it for what else is new in my kitchen apart from some containers of this Albondigas meatball soup. We froze some so that we would have something tasty and wholesome to eat when we got home and it is helping us get through the last couple of weeks of winter!

So tell me Dear Reader, do you buy a lot of snacks to take home when overseas? Have you ever tried Albondigas soup? What is your favourite meat to use in meatballs?

Albondigas Meatball Soup

Albondigas Meatball Soup

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An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott

Preparation time: 20 minutes plus 30 minutes chilling time (concurrently)

Cooking time: 35 minutes

Serves: 4 people

For Meatballs

  • 500g/1.1lbs beef, pork, chicken or turkey mince
  • 3/4 cup/150g/5ozs cooked rice
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon Tajin seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For Soup

  • oil for frying

  • 1 onion, peeled and diced

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and diced

  • 2 teaspoons chilli powder

  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 4 cups chicken or beef stock

  • 400g/14oz tin crushed tomatoes

  • 350ml/12flozs tomato passata

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 2 carrots, sliced

  • 400g/14ozs potatoes, cut into bite sized chunks

  • Salt and pepper to season

  • To serve: avocado, lime and fresh chopped coriander

Albondigas Meatball Soup

Step 1 - First make the meatballs as they need 30 minutes to chill. Mix all of the ingredients together (mince, rice, garlic, egg, coriander, parsley, oregano, cumin, Tajin, salt and pepper) and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Step 2 - Start on the soup while the meatballs are chilling. Heat a large pot on low to medium heat and add the oil. Sauté the onion until soft and caramelised (go low and slow, around 8-10 minutes). Then add the garlic, chilli, cumin and oregano and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock, tomatoes, passata and tomato paste and put the lid on to bring to a boil. Add the carrots and potatoes and simmer until just tender, around 15 minutes.

Albondigas Meatball Soup

Step 3 - The meatballs should be ready now. Have a tray or large plate ready and using damp hands shape meatballs. I use a small spring loaded ice cream scoop and then roll them in damp hands out to keep them a consistent shape but around a walnut size will do. Gently drop the meatballs into the soup and cook for 8-10 minutes. Check the soup for seasoning adding salt and pepper to taste.

Albondigas Meatball Soup

Step 4 - Ladle out the soup dividing the meatballs among the 4 bowls. Top with coriander, a wedge of lime and half an avocado.

Albondigas Meatball Soup

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