I just love the word ‘albondigas!’ (It means meatballs.) Say it out loud, really, try it. Al-bon-di-gas! Isn’t is fun to say? They’re even more fun to eat. This soup has cute, little, sausage meatballs, lots of veggies and a great Tex-Mex flavor.
These little meatballs in this soup differ from traditional meatballs because it uses rice as the starchy, filler ingredient instead of breadcrumbs. It’s a great use for rice from leftovers or take-out; I think that using a tasty or unique filler turns one little tube of ground sausage into enough meatballs to feed a crowd. And that’s what I’m all about. 🙂
Sopa con Albondigas y Arroz – Tex Mex Meatball and Rice Soup
Serves 4-6 – cost approx $.95 per serving
- 12 oz tube of breakfast sausage ($1.99)
- 1/2 cup uncooked rice or 1 cup leftover cooked rice ($.10)
- 1 tsp cumin
- garlic salt, to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- 2 eggs
- 2 Tbs minced parsley
- 1 lg onion, medium dice ($.85)
- 2 carrots, medium dice ($.11)
- 2 ribs celery, medium dice ($.11)
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1/4 head of cabbage, medium dice ($.37)
- 2 Tbs vegetable oil or Meatball drippings
- 2 Tbs tomato paste ($.20)
- 1-2 chipotles in adobo, chopped – I used just one and it gave a mild spice and good flavor, if you want to bring some pain to the party, add a few more
- 8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp dry oregano
- 1 cup uncooked rice or 2 cups leftover rice ($.24)
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels ($.23)
- 2-4 Tbs minced herbs – your choice! I used cilantro and parsley. ($.25)
Preheat the oven to 400 F. To make the meatballs, combine all the ingredients in the first list. If you’re starting with uncooked rice, nuke it for a few minutes with some water or stock to par cook the rice before adding it to the meatballs. If your mixture looks a bit too loose, add a few tablespoons of breadcrumbs.
Shape the sausage mixture into 18-24 small meatballs and put on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 F for 15-20 minutes or until they have a nice brown crust. As they are going to simmer in the soup a bit, they don’t have to be fully cooked just yet. You can certainly fry the meatballs if you like, but I think baking them is easier and a tad healthier.
While the meatballs are baking, start on the soup. Heat up the vegetable oil and/or meatball drippings in a large pot and begin to saute all the vegetables 5-10 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt. Add in the tomato paste and chipotle pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Add in the stock, bay leaf and oregano. Once it has come to a simmer add in the meatballs and uncooked rice (if you’re using leftover rice, add it in later). Continue to simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked. Add in the corn (here is where you should add leftover rice if that’s what you’ve got) and simmer 5 minutes more. Taste the soup and adjust the seasonings. Enjoy!