Albondigas (Meatball Soup)

At first people thought it was a joke.  I would tell my family and friends,“Whenever I make albondigas, Mando, my fiance, refuses to share the pot with anyone. Usually the person I was telling would laugh, and instantly request a bowl or ask to be invited over the next time I decided to make a pot.  I would then have to go further  into explanation that Mando had become insanely attached to my albondigas to the point of questioning how many servings I was going to consume out of the ginormous pot I always make. Every time I make a pot, he asks with ownership, “You’re only going to have one bowl…right?”  This story about Mando and my albondigas is usually received with shock, because everyone who knows Mando knows he is a quiet, nice, down to earth, generous guy….. He wouldn’t even allow a serving to slip past the front door to be sent to his mother (whom he adores with all his heart ), so can you imagine the resistance he put up when friends would ask Ha!  It was hopeless.

Once my circle realized there was a troll named Mando guarding these sacred albondigas, they started devising schemes on how to get their hands around a bowl.
One of my brave girlfriends sent a Christmas card addressed to him, with a drawing of a bowl of soup… big meatballs popping out over the top…and it simply stated “all I want for Christmas is a bowl of Nicole’s albondigas.”  He didn’t budge. In fact, he just laughed it off and said something to the effect of “dream on.  I ended up making them for her while he was out of town.  We called and tortured him over the phone about how perfect they had turned out.  He crumbled when this information reached his ears, his focus shifted, and he started to request a pot upon his return home.  He was crazed.
Whenever a dark cloud passes or a forecast of drizzle is on the horizon…the words “albondigas” and “please” are repeated in a song-like chant and sent my way by a darling named Mando.  Like clockwork, the second they are made, the greedy monster slides across his face to stake his claim on the entire pot.  He will eat every last drop of it over the course of two days. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner.  He asks me to keep it HUSH HUSH! “Don’t breathe a word to anyone that you made albondigas until I finish the pot.”  Most people think it’s ridiculous that he won’t spare a bowl, much less a taste…. I guess, I secretly love the thrill of knowing the albondiga troll.  Witnessing such psychotic behavior is pure comedy.

Ingredients for Meatballs:

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 1/2 pounds ground pork
3 big garlic cloves (chopped small)
6 sprigs of green onion (white part only, chopped small)
3/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 large egg
3/4 cup uncooked long grain rice (I use Mahatma)
pinch of chile flakes (the kind you use on pizza)
garlic powder to taste
Lawry’s Seasoning salt to taste
black pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix with hands till all ingredients are well combined. Then take a small handful of the meat mixture and roll between both hands to form a ball. Each should be the size of a golf ball or slightly smaller. Continue until all of the meat mixture is in ball form.

Then in a large frying pan, add a little oil (2 tablespoons) and fry meatballs over a medium high flame on each side for 2 minutes, just to brown/sear them a little. Take off flame and set to the side.

Soup Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium brown onions (sliced)
yellow bell pepper (sliced and deseeded)
5 –  32 oz boxes of chicken broth
large carrots (peeled and cut into 2inch rounds)
celery stalks (cut into 2inch sticks)
large zucchini (cut into 1inch rounds)
5 Idaho potatoes (peeled and cut into 2inch rounds)
4 corn on the cob (cut in half – 8 pieces total)
1/2 cup  fresh Cilantro

In a large pot (20 quart) over medium flame, pour in olive oil and let heat, then add onion and yellow bell pepper and saute for 8 minutes.

Then add seared meatballs. Slowly pour in chicken broth and raise flame to medium high. Let cook for 10 minutes.

Then add carrots and let cook for 10 minutes. Then add celery and let cook for 10 minutes. Lower flame to medium. Then add zucchini and cilantro and let cook for 5 to 8 minutes. Next add Idaho potatoes and cook for another 10 minutes.

Lastly, add corn on the cob and cook for the last 10 minutes! That’s it…. You’re done!

I like to serve my albondigas (meatball soup) with fresh lime, corn tortillas that are slathered in butter, and homemade salsa (optional if you like life more on the spicy side).


Hope you don’t have an albondiga troll in your house. 🙂



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