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SOUP SEASON

Recipe: Smoky, flavor-packed Mexican meatball soup is simmered with squash, potatoes, and carrots

Mexican Meatball Soup (Caldo de Albondigas).Karoline Boehm Goodnick

Serves 4

With fresh jalapenos and dried ancho chile powder, this robust Mexican soup is mild, smoky, and flavor-packed. Beef meatballs, which are added to the broth, are bound with cooked white rice. Use microwavable or frozen cooked rice or simmer about 1/2 cup long-grain white rice in plenty of boiling salted water for about 12 minutes. The broth is traditionally laden with gently simmered summer squash, but given the season and our northerly locale, winter squash is a better choice. Choose butternut, honeynut, or another firm-fleshed squash; even pumpkin would work. Add the uncooked pieces to the broth with potatoes and carrots. Stir in the roasted meatballs and garnish with cilantro and lime juice. For heartier bowls, top each with shredded tortilla chips or serve with toasted tortillas.

MEATBALLS

1 egg
1pound ground beef
1cup cooked white rice
1cup chopped fresh cilantro
2cloves garlic, finely chopped
2teaspoons dried oregano
Salt and black pepper, to taste

1. Set the oven at 425 degrees. Have on hand a rimmed baking sheet.

2. In a large bowl, combine the egg, beef, rice, cilantro, garlic, oregano, salt, and black pepper. Mix with clean hands until thoroughly blended. Form the meat mixture into 1-inch balls (about 15).

3. Place the meatballs on the baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and roast for 10 minutes.

SOUP

3tablespoons olive oil
1large onion, chopped
1 jalapeno or other small chile pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
1tablespoon ground cumin
2tablespoons ancho chile powder
1can (14 ounces) tomato sauce
8cups beef broth
4 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
2medium potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ peeled butternut, 1 peeled whole honeynut, or another variety, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Handful fresh cilantro leaves (for garnish)
2 limes, cut into wedges (for serving)

1. In a soup pot over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and jalapeno, and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until it softens. Add the cumin and chile powder, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more.

2. Stir in the tomato sauce and beef broth. Bring the liquids to a boil. Add the carrots, potatoes, squash, and a pinch each of salt and black pepper. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are almost cooked through.

3. Add the meatballs to the pot. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the meatballs are heated through and all the vegetables are tender. (Total simmering time is 30 minutes.) Taste for seasoning and add more salt and black pepper, if you like. Ladle into bowls and garnish with cilantro. Serve with limes.

Karoline Boehm Goodnick

Serves 4

With fresh jalapenos and dried ancho chile powder, this robust Mexican soup is mild, smoky, and flavor-packed. Beef meatballs, which are added to the broth, are bound with cooked white rice. Use microwavable or frozen cooked rice or simmer about 1/2 cup long-grain white rice in plenty of boiling salted water for about 12 minutes. The broth is traditionally laden with gently simmered summer squash, but given the season and our northerly locale, winter squash is a better choice. Choose butternut, honeynut, or another firm-fleshed squash; even pumpkin would work. Add the uncooked pieces to the broth with potatoes and carrots. Stir in the roasted meatballs and garnish with cilantro and lime juice. For heartier bowls, top each with shredded tortilla chips or serve with toasted tortillas.

MEATBALLS

1 egg
1pound ground beef
1cup cooked white rice
1cup chopped fresh cilantro
2cloves garlic, finely chopped
2teaspoons dried oregano
Salt and black pepper, to taste

1. Set the oven at 425 degrees. Have on hand a rimmed baking sheet.

2. In a large bowl, combine the egg, beef, rice, cilantro, garlic, oregano, salt, and black pepper. Mix with clean hands until thoroughly blended. Form the meat mixture into 1-inch balls (about 15).

3. Place the meatballs on the baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and roast for 10 minutes.

SOUP

3tablespoons olive oil
1large onion, chopped
1 jalapeno or other small chile pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
1tablespoon ground cumin
2tablespoons ancho chile powder
1can (14 ounces) tomato sauce
8cups beef broth
4 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
2medium potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ peeled butternut, 1 peeled whole honeynut, or another variety, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Handful fresh cilantro leaves (for garnish)
2 limes, cut into wedges (for serving)

1. In a soup pot over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and jalapeno, and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until it softens. Add the cumin and chile powder, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more.

2. Stir in the tomato sauce and beef broth. Bring the liquids to a boil. Add the carrots, potatoes, squash, and a pinch each of salt and black pepper. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are almost cooked through.

3. Add the meatballs to the pot. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the meatballs are heated through and all the vegetables are tender. (Total simmering time is 30 minutes.) Taste for seasoning and add more salt and black pepper, if you like. Ladle into bowls and garnish with cilantro. Serve with limes.Karoline Boehm Goodnick