Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Melanie J. Clarke
12 servings (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups)

Category Finalist: Family Dinners. "When I met my husband three years ago, he suggested I try cooking albondigas, a traditional Mexican soup with meatballs and vegetables. His mother taught me how to prepare her authentic version. My children wouldn't eat chunks of vegetables, so I needed to re-create the dish. I pureed a package of stir-fry vegetables, fresh carrots, and canned tomatoes with the broth mixture and added yellow squash to the meatballs. Now I take pleasure in knowing that my children are eating a colorful dish of 'hidden' vegetables." —Emily Almaguer, Fort Worth, Texas

How to Make It

Step 1

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pepper stir-fry to pan; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add carrot; sauté 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, chiles, and broths; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until carrot is tender.

Step 2

Place one-third of broth mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining broth mixture. Return to pan.

Step 3

Combine chicken, pork, squash, cilantro, 1/4 cup rice, onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and egg in a food processor; process 30 seconds or until blended. Bring broth mixture to a boil. Drop meat mixture by rounded tablespoonfuls (about 45 meatballs) into broth mixture. Add remaining 1/2 cup rice to pan; reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes or until meatballs are done. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Stir in juice.

Ratings & Reviews

stacyjen's Review

March 01, 2009
A wonderful recipe, full of flavor. Simple to make with a food processor. All I had was a mini-chop version so I had to so it in batches but still worked great. I added some frozen corn, cumin, and chili powder then some extra cilantro at the end. It makes enough to feed a crowd.

GayleLessmann's Review

March 06, 2009
I made this soup last night and loved it. I followed the recipe exactly, and thought that there was a bit too much liquid for my liking. I prefer a little thicker soup. But the flavor was excellent and my three-year-old even wolfed it down. We had it again today for lunch and it was even better. Oh, I did not grind up the meat myself - I used some ground chicken and pork that I had bought before, and the meatballs were yummy, though I am sure using pork tenderloin would make it even better.

elishapisha's Review

April 14, 2009
This took a lot of work and in the end I didn't like the soup. My pureed mixture was an awful light brown color (not appetizing at all), my meatballs had big chunks of pork in them because I didn't want to over-process the meat and cause it to toughen. Normally I'm willing to see the potential in a recipe, but I just don't see it here.

keholloway's Review

March 04, 2009
delicious. I used ground pork and ground white turkey and didn't use a food processor for the meatballs and they turned out great. very flavorful.

ReneePech's Review

May 21, 2009
WARNING: do not make this recipe unless you have a lot of time on your hands and you own an immersion blender. It was a tasty soup and I'm glad that it made a TON because I'm not going to be making it again any time soon. I should have read more carefully to find out how much time was involved.

SusanMagrini's Review

March 22, 2010
I thought it was bland also so I added some red pepper flakes, a few stems of thyme and a splash of red wine to the sauce. The meatballs were tasty but I didn't think they needed 45 mins to cook, especially at that small size. Mine were done in 20 and they were cooked through.

megan74's Review

March 08, 2009
Excellent. I made the full recipe for my husband and I - it was just easier to make a full recipe. I topped it with some fresh avocado and had fresh corn torillas on the side. We had it over a period of a few days and enjoyed it everytime! This will be a regular for us.

FoodieSandi's Review

March 06, 2009
Really, really good! I made a 1/2 batch, but, next time, I think I'll make the entire thing and maybe freeze the other half. It's a little labor intensive, but well worth it. I served this with the roasted corn and goat cheese quesadillas.

seattlemama's Review

June 08, 2009
This turned out to be really yummy, thank goodness because it did take a long time to prepare. This is good to make on a Sunday afternoon (start by 4 if you want to eat by 6:30) and have lots of leftovers for the following week, or to freeze. I'll definitely make it again - very good!

MrsJillSmith's Review

June 22, 2009
This was good but almost kind of bland and nothing special.