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  • Writer's pictureLuis and JudyAnn

Caldo de Albondigas

Updated: Dec 30, 2018

Every region has a traditional soup that’s handed down from one kitchen to another.

Among Mexico’s most widely known and revered comfort foods is caldo de albondigas, meatball soup, beloved by young and old. Few situations can't be improved and few hearts can't be healed by a bowl of this aromatic, restorative soup.

Caldo de Albondigas originated as a Berber or Arab soup that was introduced to Spain during the Islamic rule in what is now Southwestern Europe or the Iberian Peninsula. After the Spanish reclaimed the area, Arabic culinary traditions were adopted and modified.

Albondigas soup is wonderfully fragrant and very filling—which makes it perfect for the wintertime. The meatballs are made up of a unique mixture of ground beef, fresh herbs, minced garlic, and, most importantly, a little bit of uncooked white rice. Add some broth and veggies and you’re well on your way to crafting a satisfying meal.

A great thing about this recipe is that it’s flexible, so go ahead and experiment with different kinds of veggies for your own soup. Or, if you’re a fan of a little heat, another fun modification is to substitute 1/2 lb of ground beef for ground spicy Italian sausage. No matter how you approach this recipe, the key to making a memorable batch of albondigas soup is to use really fresh ingredients, from the selection of meats even to the type of broth. Doing this will guarantee a delicious final product.

Another great thing about this recipe is that it’s mostly prep work, so once that’s done all you need to do is wait for your meatballs to cook through and you’ll have yourself a delightfully flavorful experience.

Some make the meatballs with a mix of pork and beef; others use all beef. Some include chayote or green pepper while others keep it basic with onion, celery, carrots and zucchini. Some cook the rice a bit before putting them into the meatballs, but most form the meatballs with uncooked rice.

Yes, adding uncooked rice actually works and it’s pretty amazing. The rice takes the place of the breadcrumbs in these meatballs. Some of the rice will end up in the soup, but most of it cooks right in the meatball.With the carefully crafted meatballs, bountiful vegetables and rice you will be more than satisfied.



  1. 1 lb. ground beef extra lean

  2. 2 cloves garlic minced

  3. 1/2 onion chopped

  4. 1/2 cup rice long grain, uncooked

  5. 1 egg beaten

  6. 1/4 cup parsley fresh, chopped

  7. 1/4 cup oregano fresh, chopped or about 1 tbsp dry oregano

  8. 1 tsp cumin ground

  9. 1/2 tsp chili powder

Soup broth:

  1. 2 tbsp olive oil

  2. 1/2 large onion chopped

  3. 3 cloves garlic minced

  4. 1 large carrot chopped to your liking

  5. 14.5 oz diced tomatoes (1 can)

  6. 3 cups beef broth low sodium

  7.  2 cups water

  8. salt and pepper to taste

  9. 1 tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed

  10. 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

  11. 2 tbsp cilantro fresh, chopped

  12. 2 tbsp parsley fresh, chopped


  1. In a bowl add all the meatball ingredients together and mix well.

2. Shape into meatballs that are about 1 inch in diameter. It should yield close to 20 to 25 meatballs, depending on how big you make them. Place meatballs in fridge until ready to add to soup.

3.Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottom 5 qt. pot to medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until onion is translucent, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add chopped carrots to pot and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes until you get a nice caramelization going.

4.Add the tomatoes, broth, water and seasonings. Bring to a boil and turn down heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes.

5.Add meatballs to pot one at a time, slowly. Using a spoon slowly stir.

6.Cover and let cook over low to medium heat for another 15 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.

7.Add lemon juice and herbs and taste and adjust for seasoning.


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