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Traci Des Jardins' albondigas soup at her popular taqueria Mijita Cocina Mexicana comes from Grandma Salazar. The spicy meatballs float in a bright broth and fresh vegetables, perfect for a crisp October night.
Makes 6-8 Servings
For the meatballs:
1/2 cup short-grain white rice
1 cup water
2 white onions, peeled and diced
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground beef
1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
For the soup and garnish:
1 clove garlic, finely minced
6 stalks celery
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1/2 pound tomatoes, blanched, peeled, and diced (or a 12-ounce can of peeled and crushed tomatoes)
4 cups chicken stock
2 sprigs mint leaves, chopped
1 medium zucchini, diced
Fried tortilla strips
1. Place rice in a heatproof bowl. Bring water to a boil, and pour over the rice. Let soak for 20 minutes, and then drain.
2. Using a sauté pan, cook half of the onion in a scant amount of vegetable oil over medium-low heat until translucent and soft (do not brown). Let cool, and then add to the ground pork and beef in another bowl. Add the soaked rice, eggs, half of the cilantro, cumin, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend everything together very well, and form into 1-inch meatballs.
3. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, place 2 tablespoons of oil into the pan, and brown the meatballs lightly. Remove from the pan, and add the remaining onions, garlic, celery, and carrot. Lower the heat to medium-low, and sauté until the onions are slightly softened. Add the tomatoes.
4. Add the chicken stock, and bring to a simmer. Then add the meatballs and the mint. Simmer for about 1 hour. Then season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the zucchini, and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Garnish with the remaining cilantro and fried tortilla strips before serving.