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

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.

MrsJillSmith's Review

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

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.