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Meatball Soup (Sopa de Albóndigas)

Becky Luigart-Stayner; Melanie J. Clarke and Jan Gautro
Yield 6 servings (serving size: 1 2/3 cups)
This Mexican meatball soup features homemade beef-and-rice meatballs simmered in chicken broth with vegetables and fragrant spices, such as cinnamon, coriander, cumin, and cloves. 


  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick, broken
  • 1/2 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh onion
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 pound ground round
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 cups chopped green cabbage
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup sliced carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons drained chopped chipotle chile in adobo sauce
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped (such as Muir Glen)
  • 1 1/2 cups cubed peeled baking potato

Nutrition Information

  • calories 330
  • caloriesfromfat 34 %
  • fat 12.4 g
  • satfat 4.6 g
  • monofat 5.2 g
  • polyfat 0.6 g
  • protein 20.6 g
  • carbohydrate 34.5 g
  • fiber 4.9 g
  • cholesterol 51 mg
  • iron 4 mg
  • sodium 780 mg
  • calcium 97 mg

How to Make It

  1. Cook the coriander seeds and the cumin seeds in a large Dutch oven over medium heat 1 minute or until toasted and fragrant. Place the toasted spices, cloves, and cinnamon in a spice or coffee grinder; process until finely ground.

  2. Combine 2 teaspoons cinnamon mixture, rice, grated onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt, beef, egg white, and garlic in a large bowl; set remaining cinnamon mixture aside. Shape beef mixture into 24 (1-inch) meatballs.

  3. Heat pan over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add cabbage, chopped onion, carrot, and celery to pan; cook 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add remaining cinnamon mixture, chili powder, and chipotle; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, broth, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Add meatballs; cover and cook 15 minutes. Add potato; cook, uncovered, over medium heat 20 minutes or until potato is tender.

Cook's Notes

In Mexico, albóndigas (meatballs) are sometimes made with rice used as the binding agent. Other times, rice is in the soup.