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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.

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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

Ingredients

  • 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.

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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!

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