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Seasonal Recipe

Recipe for albondigas soup (meatball soup in spicy broth)

Sally Pasley Vargas for The Boston Globe

Serves 4

The word albondigas, Spanish for meatballs, comes from the Arabic word al-bunduq, meaning hazelnut, the size and shape of the small, round balls. The Arabs brought a version of this dish to Spain, and it eventually became popular in kitchens in Mexico and Latin America. Mint, often found in Mexican versions, adds an intriguing light element and suggests the origin of the meatballs, which swim in a spicy broth.


1pound ground pork
1clove garlic, finely chopped
1teaspoon oregano
¼teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
½teaspoon salt
Black pepper, to taste
Few sprigs fresh mint, leaves chopped
½cup panko or other white

1. In a bowl, combine the pork, garlic, oregano, paprika, salt, pepper, mint, panko or breadcrumbs, and egg. Mix until well combined.

2. With wet hands, form 28 walnut-size balls.



6cups chicken stock
½cup tomato puree
1teaspoon ancho chile powder
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Juice of 1 lime
2carrots, sliced
2ounces fresh spinach, tough stems removed
½cup frozen peas, rinsed with cold water
Extra fresh mint, leaves chopped (for garnish)
1cup tortilla chips,
broken into bite-size pieces (for garnish)

1. In a soup pot over medium heat, bring the stock, tomato puree, chile powder, salt, black pepper, and lime juice to a boil.

2. Add the meatballs and carrots, and return the soup to a simmer. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are no longer pink inside.

3. Stir in the spinach and peas and cook 1 minute more. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with chopped mint and tortilla chips.

Sally Pasley Vargas