Albondigas soup

It’s still rainy and cold here in Portland so that means soup weather to me.  When it’s gray outside I love to turn to a nice hearty bowl to warm the insides.  This soup is filling and packs a ton of flavor.  The nice thing is that I sneak a lot of vegetables into the meatballs so it’s a way to get my guys to eat their veggies without a fuss.  I love to make this on the weekend and it freezes beautifully, so on nights when I work late I can have dinner on the table in just a few minutes.   Don’t be daunted by the list of ingredients, it comes together quickly and if you replace the brown rice with white you can shave 30 minutes off the cooking time if you are in a rush.

Now I will admit that this isn’t the lightest dish in my cooking arsenal but it’s hearty and satisfying.  I find that if I focus on only eating “diet” friendly foods my cravings just take over and all I start to think about is cheese and chocolate and all the other things I’m not supposed to eat.  I am finally learning after years of dieting that for me moderation and portion size is key.  So there is nothing on my diet that isn’t allowed, I just have to make sure to eat a little less of the foods that are richer and look to my other meals to balance everything out.  So when you are looking for a little comfort food try this soup, you won’t be sorry!  Happy eating!

look at all those veggies, it can’t be that bad for you right?

Albondigas soup



  • 2 large fresh poblano chiles
  • 1 pound ground beef (10% fat)
  • 1/2 pound pork chorizo
  • 1/2 cup coarsely grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 1/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt


  • 2 dried ancho chiles
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 small onion, quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 9 cups low-salt beef broth
  • 1 cup coarsely grated zucchini
  • 1 cup corn kernels, frozen is fine
  • 1/4 cup brown rice



  • 3 tablespoons (or more) vegetable oil
  • 4 corn tortillas, cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 avocado for garnish


For meatballs:

  1. Line large rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap. Char chiles over direct flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in paper bag and steam 10 minutes. Stem, seed, and peel chiles, then chop finely (should yield about 3/4 cup).
  2. Place chiles in large bowl. Gently mix in beef, chorizo and all remaining ingredients. Using moistened hands and scant tablespoonful for each, roll meat mixture into 1-inch meatballs. Arrange meatballs on sheet.

For soup:

  1. Stem and seed chili and then toast in dry skillet until it becomes soft and pliable.  Place the chili and vinegar in a small saucepan and add water just to cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until mixture is reduced by half.  Combine the chili broth with the garlic and onion in a blender and puree until smooth.  Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add puree, chile powder, cumin, rice, corn and broth and bring to rolling boil. Reduce heat to very low,  and cook 20 minutes.
  2. Increase heat to medium and drop in meatballs, 1 at a time. Return soup to simmer. Cover and cook gently until meatballs and rice are cooked through, stirring occasionally and adjusting heat to avoid boiling, about 30 minutes. Season soup with salt and add lime juice by teaspoonfuls until happy with the taste.

For toppings:

  1. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in heavy medium skillet over medium heat 1 minute. Add half of tortilla strips. Cook until crisp, gently separating strips with tongs, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer strips to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining tortilla strips, adding more oil if needed.
  2. Ladle soup and meatballs into bowls. Garnish with tortilla strips, avocado, cilantro and extra limes if desired.

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  • Meet Tina | Scaling Back Blog

    Self-taught cook, photographer.  You can usually find me at a farmers market dreaming up alternative recipes for my allergy prone family.

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