Caldo de Albóndigas: Mexican meatball soup, a simple comfort dish for everyday meals

Caldo de albóndigas (meatballs in broth) is the perfect food to warm you up in winter. A hearty and nutritious soup to serve at your family dinner table.

This meatball soup is loaded with vegetables and fully customizable as you can add any veggies you’d like. The aromatic and delicious broth is full of mexican flavours and is NOT SPICY! so children can enjoy it and believe me, they will!

What is Caldo de Albóndigas?

Caldo means broth and albóndigas translate to meatballs. So Caldo de Albóndigas literally translate into Meathball broth. And as scrumptious as it sound, this recipe truly will become one of your favourite mexican recipes.

Meatballs are a dish Mexico inherit from Spain where it was a popular preparation thanks to the Arabs. When meatballs became popular in the latinoamerican cuisines, Mexico, as many other countries made it’s own version which is pretty popular among families.

Is Mexican Meatball Soup Spicy?

The short answer is: No. Caldo de Albóndigas is a dish that is served mostly in family meals, to grown ups and children. Is an easy way to include vegetables into the daily diet and also a budget-friendly soup perfect to feed a large family.

Many families prefer to keep spicy food away from childrens so Caldo de Albóndigas doesn’t include any hot chilli peppers, instead, we prefer to serve a spicy sauce on the side so the ones that would like the broth spicy just add the sauce to their liking.

My family recipe

This Caldo de Albóndigas recipe is from my grandma Elvira. She will always be my mainly inspiration. How I miss her cooking and sazón.

In Mexico, Albóndigas en Caldo can have some variants, this one that I am sharing with you is exactly how my grandma used to prepare them at home. Years and years later I still remember the recipe as if I had it tattooed in my memory.

One of those things that you already do out of inertia from so many times that you have repeated the same steps. To tell the truth, my grandma Elvira didn’t add vegetables to the broth but my mother did, so this is their version. They also didn’t use olive oil but lard, so this recipe also has a little touch of mine.

Albóndigas en Caldo – Mexican meatballs in broth

Caldo de Albóndigas was one of the first dishes I made in Italy to introduce my husband to the mexican gastronomy. He loved it from the first time and he still likes it enough to ask me often to make them.

It was one of the first recipes that I write on this blog back in 2004 and then update it with new photos and content to make it easier for my visitors.

In Italy I make them almost always in summer, because is when there is a lot of fresh mint everywhere. I don’t mind the heat, as a Mexican I am used to eating hot dishes even when the heat is unbearable.

This year my mint has started to grow since January, because of the crazy weather. So I did not want to miss the opportunity now that the weather is still a bit cold to prepare these delicious meatballs in broth and serve them them with corn tortillas and red rice.

Ingredients

Minced pork meat – You can also use turkey, chicken or beef minced meat. Or a combination of 2 types of those suggested meats.

Fresh tomatoes – If tomatoes are not in season or you don’t have fresh tomatoes, add a can (400gr) of plain tomato sauce.

White onions – Or yellow, this together with tomatoes and onion creates the base for the broth.

Vegetables – I added only zucchini and carrots but you can also add peas, corn, turnips, celery, etc.

Rice – Rice is to help the meat sticking together and also adds a nice touch in the texture as it avoids the meatballs to becoming so hard once cooked.

Eggs – Same as rice, eggs helps to glue all the meatballs ingredients together.

Vegetable oil – Use any vegetable oil you prefer.

Herbs – Mint is the key ingredient and I strongly suggest to use it, also oregano. With those 2 ingredients you’ll think you’re eating at any mexican fondita! they bring out all the amazing flavours in the broth.

Other seasonings – Garlic, salt and pepper. Use at your liking.

Caldo de Albóndigas Recipe

Place the ground meat in a bowl, then add the rice, the eggs and a handful of chopped mint leaves. Season with salt and pepper.

Ingredients ready to be mixed to make meatballs.

Mix all the ingredients until fully incorporated. Let it sit for 5 minutes.

The meat already mixed with the other ingredients to prepare meatballs.

Prepare the meatballs and place them on a plate, I have made 24 balls with the size of an apricot, you can make them the size you’d prefer.

Cut tomatoes and onions into pieces and place them in a blender together with the peeled garlic clove. Add a cup of water and blend until you achieve a smooth sauce.

Sauce for meatballs.

In a saucepan, heat a little oil and pour the tomato sauce. Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add enough water (or chicken stock) for the broth, about 800-1000 ml). Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil.

Boiling broth for Caldo de Albóndigas.

When the tomato broth begins to boil, add the meatballs delicately. Do not mix immediately as you could break meatballs. If the pot is too crowded, with a spoon move them gently until all meatballs are fully submerged into the broth.

Adding the raw meatballs to the broth.

Boil for 30 minutes over low / moderate heat. Meanwhile peel and cut the zucchini and carrots in the format you prefer (cubes, chunks, sticks). Add them to the broth and boil until the vegetables are completely tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Adding the vegetables into the caldo de albóndigas.

Adjust with salt, turn off the heat and add the oregano, mix. Cover the pot and let it rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

  • At first you will feel that the meat mixture sticks to your hands. Just let it sit for 5 minutes and the preparation will be ready and manageable to prepare the meatballs.
  • My grandma Elvira would add sometimes chicken bouillon, or if she had chicken broth from the day before she would add that as well. If you like, you can also add chicken stock instead of water.

Caldo de Albóndigas (mexican meatballs in broth)

4
Maricruz
This meatball soup is loaded with vegetables and fully customizable as you can add any veggies you’d like. The aromatic and delicious broth is full of mexican flavours and is NOT SPICY! so children can enjoy it and believe me, they will!
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 45 mins
resting time: 20 mins
Total: 1 hr 25 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 500 gr (1.1 lb) minced pork meat
  • 450 gr (1 lb) fresh tomatoes
  • 100 gr (⅔ cup) white onions
  • 300 gr (2 medium) zucchini
  • 200 gr (3 medium) carrots
  • 50 gr (½ cup) rice
  • 2 eggs
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Fresh mint
  • Oregano
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions
 

  • Place the ground meat in a bowl, then add the rice, the eggs and a handful of chopped mint leaves. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Mix all the ingredients until fully incorporated. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
  • Prepare the meatballs and place them on a plate, I have made 24 balls the size of a peach, if you make them bigger they will be less meatballs, so is up to you.
  • Cut tomatoes and onions into pieces and place them in a blender together with the peeled garlic clove. Add a cup of water and blend until you achieve a smooth sauce.
  • In a saucepan, heat a little oil and pour the tomato sauce. Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add enough water (or chicken stock) for the broth, about 800-1000 ml). Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  • When the tomato broth begins to boil, add the meatballs delicately. Do not mix immediately as you could break meatballs. If the pot is too crowded, with a spoon move them gently until all meatballs are fully submerged into the broth.
  • Boil for 30 minutes over low / moderate heat.
  • Meanwhile peel and cut the zucchini and carrots in the format you prefer (cubes, chunks, sticks). Add them to the broth and boil until the vegetables are completely tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  • Adjust with salt, turn off the heat and add the oregano, mix. Cover the pot and let it rest for 15 minutes before serving.
Notes
  • At first you will feel that the meat mixture sticks to your hands. Just let it sit for 5 minutes and the preparation will be ready and manageable to prepare the meatballs.
  • My grandma Elvira would add sometimes chicken bouillon, or if she had chicken broth from the day before she would add that as well. If you like, you can also add chicken stock instead of water.
Course Plato principal
Cuisine mexican

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4 Comments

  1. This is the first recipe that I come across that actually makes them
    like my mother’s amazing albóndigas!! Love it!

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