Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sopa de Albondiga

It's Cinco de Mayo!  I made a Mexican-inspired soup the other day. I had not planned make soup this week, but I was leafing through the May 2011 issue of Sunset Magazine and I saw this great looking soup. I decided I had to make it since I had most of the ingredients on hand at home.  After the dentist appointment, I swung by the market and grabbed what I needed.

Sunset Magazine indicates this recipe comes from Cristina Gonzalez, who grew up in Los Angeles, California.  The recipe appeared in an article entitled "In the Western Kitchen: A new taste of the old country (readers remake family favorites from back home).  Cristina Gonzalez, who now lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia, indicated her grandmother made this soup in her kitchen in Jalisco, Mexico.

I've seen other recipes for Sopa de Albondiga on the Internet, so after I made this soup, I decided to try to learn a little more.  From the sounds of it, Sopa de Albondiga traslates to "meatball soup".  There are various recipes on the Internet, most appear to call for beef.  Some call for baking or frying the meatballs, but in this version, you simmer the raw meatballs in the hot broth.  Some recipes call for fresh mint in the meatballs; this version calls for fresh oregano.  Of course I couldn't follow the recipe exactly so here's my version.  I am inclined to think Sopa de Albondiga is similar to Italian Minestrone Soup or Italian Wedding Soup in that every family (or every Grandma) had her own unique twist in how to make this soup.  As always, soup is a great way to use up fresh veggies you have at home.

Meatball Soup with Vegetables:
Sopa de Albondiga (CLICK HERE for the original recipe as posted in Sunset Magazine)

My version Sopa de Albondiga with Spinach


8 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (two 32 ounce cartons)
3 or 4 large carrots, diced
3 or 4 stalks celery, diced
1 small bunch green onions (scallions), diced, white part only
(reserve the green tops of the scallions, finely diced, for serving if desired)
1 large egg, beaten to blend
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander (optional)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound ground turkey (I used a 1.25 pound package of Extra Lean ground turkey)
1/2 cup cold cooked white rice (I had left over basmati rice on hand)
4 to 6 ounces fresh spinach, chopped (soup would be good without spinach but I like it)

1. Heat broth, carrots, celery, and onions in a medium pot, covered, over high heat until boiling. Meanwhile, make meatballs. I let the veggies and broth to simmer for 8 to 10 minutes before adding the meatballs.

2. Combine egg, cumin, coriander, oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a bowl; whisk to combine and THEN add turkey and rice.  Blend well with hands but don't over-mix. Shape meat into 1 1/2-in. balls (each meatball should be one level tablespoon in size); set on tray or plate.  I made 36 meatballs.

3. Lower meatballs into soup with a spoon one at a time (don't drop all the meatball into one spot or else they will stick together). Bring to a simmer; reduce heat and cook, covered, until carrots are very tender, 8 to 10 minutes.  Add the fresh chopped spinach and stir in.  Cook another 2 to 3 minutes until spinach is nicely wilted.  For additional onion flavor, you can top each serving of soup with the reserved finely diced green onions.  
If you like the looks of this soup, you might also like to see another soup recipe:  Click HERE to check out Italian Wedding Soup... an updated healthy version.

1 comment:

Baking Ribbons said...

This looks delicious-I love meatballs in soup!