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Muy Bueno Albondigas

Muy Bueno Albondigas

Albondigas Recipe

Veronica Gonzales-Smith from The Muy Bueno Cookbook shares one of her secret family recipes. We say Muchas Gracias.

Albondigas…doesn’t it sound majestic? What is an albondiga? Albondigas originated in Spain and means a spicy tomato meatball. In my book albondiga soup is the ultimate comfort food.

I love soup and this one has a special memory attached to it. The unique balance of fresh herbs, tomato broth and unique spices gives this recipe its delicate flavor. When my grandmother made this soup I remember staring at the vibrant red specks of the safflower in the broth and wondered what they were. We had a lot of soup growing up and my grandmother and mother always made sure it was kid friendly. Beautiful bowls of homemade salsa always graced the table and adults took the liberty of adding spice to their individual bowl of albondiga soup.

My fondest memory is that of my grandmother rolling out the miniature and perfectly sized meatballs. I always wondered how she managed to make every meatball the exact same size and with such ease. Kids think of the quirkiest things.

The essence of the spice in this soup comes from an exotic trio of fresh cilantro, crushed coriander, and whole safflower petals. When I make this soup I am flooded with memories of being in my grandmother’s kitchen and being that little kid again.

Albondigas Recipe


How to Make Albondigas


Prepare the Meatballs:

  • Combine ground beef, garlic powder, salt, crushed peppercorns, 2 tbsp diced onions, masa harina, and 2 tbsp of rice in a large mixing bowl.
  • Mix until all ingredients are well incorporated.
  • Form into 36-40 1-inch meatballs and set aside.

Prepare the Tomatoes:

See Also

  • Arrange three large tomatoes on a baking sheet and broil for about 20 minutes, turning halfway through, until softened.
  • If skins blacken, remove them.
  • Puree the broiled tomatoes until smooth and set aside.

Cook the Meatballs:

  • In a large pot, bring 7 cups of water and the chicken broth to a boil.
  • Add minced garlic, then reduce heat to medium.
  • Carefully add meatballs to the broth, cook for 10-15 minutes or until they float to the surface.
  • Reduce heat to simmer.

Sauté Vegetables:

  • In a skillet, sauté remaining onions and diced roma tomatoes in olive oil until soft.

Finalize the Albondigas:

  • To the simmering broth, add sautéed vegetables, tomato puree, remaining rice, cubed potatoes, diced carrots, chopped celery, crushed coriander, chopped cilantro, and safflower.
  • Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure even cooking.

Serve:

  • Ladle soup into bowls, ensuring each gets about 5 meatballs.
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs and lime wedges.
  • Serve with warm corn tortillas and, if desired, a spoonful of salsa for added heat.

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Albondigas Recipe

Muy Bueno Albondigas


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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Veronica Gonzales-Smith
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6-8 1x

Description

Veronica Gonzales-Smith from The Muy Bueno Cookbook shares one of her secret family recipes. We say Muchas Gracias.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 lb (453 g) ground beef
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp crushed peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp masa harina
  • 1 cup (128 g) onions, diced, divided
  • 1/4 cup (45 g) long-grain rice, divided
  • 7 cups (1,656 ml) water
  • 32 oz (946 ml) chicken broth
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 3 large tomatoes, for roasting and blending
  • 2 small russet potatoes, cubed
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp crushed coriander
  • 3 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp whole safflower

Instructions

Prepare the Meatballs:

  • Combine ground beef, garlic powder, salt, crushed peppercorns, 2 tbsp diced onions, masa harina, and 2 tbsp of rice in a large mixing bowl.
  • Mix until all ingredients are well incorporated.
  • Form into 36-40 1-inch meatballs and set aside.

Prepare the Tomatoes:

  • Arrange three large tomatoes on a baking sheet and broil for about 20 minutes, turning halfway through, until softened.
  • If skins blacken, remove them.
  • Puree the broiled tomatoes until smooth and set aside.

Cook the Meatballs:

  • In a large pot, bring 7 cups of water and the chicken broth to a boil.
  • Add minced garlic, then reduce heat to medium.
  • Carefully add meatballs to the broth, cook for 10-15 minutes or until they float to the surface.
  • Reduce heat to simmer.

Sauté Vegetables:

  • In a skillet, sauté remaining onions and diced roma tomatoes in olive oil until soft.

Finalize the Albondigas:

  • To the simmering broth, add sautéed vegetables, tomato puree, remaining rice, cubed potatoes, diced carrots, chopped celery, crushed coriander, chopped cilantro, and safflower.
  • Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure even cooking.

Serve:

  • Ladle soup into bowls, ensuring each gets about 5 meatballs.
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs and lime wedges.
  • Serve with warm corn tortillas and, if desired, a spoonful of salsa for added heat.

Notes

  • For a lighter version, use ground turkey or chicken instead of beef.
  • Adjust the level of heat by adding more or fewer peppercorns and safflower.
  • Masa harina helps bind the meatballs and gives them a distinct flavor; do not substitute with regular flour.
  • If you prefer softer rice in your soup, pre-cook it before adding it to the broth.
  • Prep Time: 45 mins
  • Cook Time: 60 mins
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Simmering
  • Cuisine: Mexican Inspired
View Comments (3)
  • Just curious about the amount of water in this dish.
    It calls for 7 cups of water PLUS the chicken broth, which is about 11 cups of liquid.. something doesnt seem right here. Is there a typo in this recipe or is it supposed to be that watery? It seems like it would be really washed out and diluted with all that water compared to everything else.

    Thanks

  • We enjoyed this. I simplified the process a bit by sautéing the onions and tomatoes first, then added the rest of the broth ingredients and finally the meatballs. Also, having looked at other recipes, I used 1 pound ground beef and one pound lean ground pork, and added mint to the meat mixture. I’ll make it again.






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