El Chico's-style Sopa Albondigas

Meat Balls (Albondigas) Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1/3 cup long grain rice
  • 2 slices white bread
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper

Soup (Sopa) Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 oz onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced bell pepper
  • 3 quarts water or salt-free broth
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper
  • 2 carrots, sliced 1/8-inch
  • 1 zucchini, sliced 1/8-inch

Garnish Ingredients:

  • Fresh limes
  • Cilantro
  • Hot corn tortillas


Soak the bread in the milk. Place all the ingredients for the meat balls in a deep pan; include the milk and bread. Mix all the ingredients by hand very well.

Make small meat balls rotating your hands in a circular motion making meat balls of the size 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches.

Bake meat balls for 20 minutes at 400° F. Set aside.

Soup preparation: Place vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, onions and bell pepper. Cook until onions are soft. Add the water, diced tomatoes, rice and spices. Bring to hard boil. Carefully add the meat balls, carrots and zucchini to the boiling soup. Lower the heat to a slow boil and cook until rice is soft, approximately 35 to 45 minutes. Add more water if necessary.

Serve with hot corn tortillas, lime wedges and chopped cilantro. Squeeze the lime in the soup to accentuate the flavor of the vegetables in the soup. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

Makes 4

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