Everyone says this, but I truly believe that my mom, Elvia, is the best cook in the world. Her posole, beans, enchiladas and albondigas soup are better than any restaurant and definitely better than anything I make.
Trying to recreate her recipes is not easy because, like many great cooks, she doesn’t write anything down. She throws together ingredients and whatever dish she’s making comes out great every time.
I talked to her on the phone recently while she was in the middle of making Albóndigas, which is a Mexican meatball soup with vegetables and spices. It seemed like the perfect time to get the recipe because she was in the process of making it. Ha, good one. She basically said to make the meatballs, throw some water in a pot with a bunch of ingredients and a couple of hours later, you’ll have your soup. After a little more chatting, I was able to get the basic ingredients for the soup with a little more detailed direction.
Here’s what I came up with and it turned out great – just like I remembered. It’s not spicy (one of the few dishes my mom makes that’s not spicy) so even my boys tried it. I used organic beef and gluten-free bread crumbs because we’re fancy like that (just kidding, my husband has Celiac so everything I cook is gluten free), but feel free to use regular beef and regular bread crumbs.
Combine 1 to 1¼ pound organic beef in a large bowl with ½ cup bread crumbs, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Mix the ingredients together with your hands and shape the meat mixture into small balls. Set aside.
Chop half a large white onion and 6 pearl tomatoes.
Add a tablespoon or two of olive oil to a soup pot and sauté 2 cloves of crushed garlic, the onion and tomato until the onion is soft. Then add the water and bouillon (or stock) and bring to a boil.
Lower heat to a simmer and cook for 2 hours. While that’s cooking, chop 1 large potato and two medium zucchini.
After cooking the soup for about two hours, add the potato. After 2 ½ hours add the zucchini. Then add more salt and pepper to taste and you’re done. You can serve with cilantro and avocado slices or by itself.
Elvia’s Easy Albondigas Soup Recipe
1 to 1¼ pound organic beef
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 large white onion, chopped
6 pearl tomatoes chopped (or a can of diced tomatoes)
1 large potato, chopped and set aside
2 medium zucchini, chopped and set aside
7 cups of water and one bouillon cube (or 7 cups of chicken or vegetable stock)
Combine beef, bread crumbs, egg, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix together with your hands. Form small meatballs and set aside.
In a large soup pot, sauté onions, garlic, and tomatoes until onions are soft. Pour in water and bouillon (or stock) and add meatballs. Bring to a boil then immediately turn it to simmer. Cook for about two hours then add potatoes*. After 2 ½ hours add the zucchini. After the zucchini is soft, but not mushy, your soup is done. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
Serve and enjoy!
*You can put everything in at once, but the potatoes and zucchini will become mushy. My grandmother puts everything at once and says it’s fine. My mother was adamant that the zucchini be put in at the end.