This time of year always reminds me of my Abuelita and the smell of albondiga soup. I loved breaking open her meatballs to find egg inside and concluded she must have used magic to get it in there. When I got older I learned her secret and I am sharing it with you so you too can whip up a tasty surprise! For this recipe, I enlisted the help of my super cutesie, queer Chican@ friend Ben. We managed to pull off this Mexican classic between chisme and shots of mezcal.
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 2 teaspoon of dried)
- 2 tablespoon cumin
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 5 Garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium onion, minced
- ½ cup of bread crumbs
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 3 hardboiled eggs, quartered
- 1 tablespoon of rendered pork fat (for frying)
In a large bowl mix the ground beef, herbs, spices, and breadcrumbs until fully incorporated. Add the eggs and mix thoroughly.
Place the meatballs in the refrigerator to cool while preparing the broth. This will help them keep their shape while frying. In a skillet, heat up the rendered pork fat over medium-high heat (you can use vegetable oil as well but pork fat is more delicious) and fry the meatballs until golden on the outside (approx. 10 min). Set aside.
- 1½ cups water
- 2 dried chipotle peppers (seeds removed)
- 2 dried ancho chiles (seeds removed)
- 2 dried guajillo chiles (seeds removed)
- 4 garlic cloves (skin on)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- ½ cup white onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme (or ½ 1 teaspoon of dried)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 tomatoes (peeled, cored & roughly chopped)
- 3 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
- 2 carrots, chopped in 1 inch pieces
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Cilantro (to garnish)
- Lime wedge (to garnish)
Bring water to a boil. On a dry skillet, gently toast the chipotle, ancho and guajillo chiles for 20 seconds on medium heat. Place chiles in a bowl and pour the hot water on top of them to rehydrate the peppers for approximately 20 minutes.
Time saving tip: rehydrate the peppers while you are making the meatballs
Place cloves on the same dry skillet over medium-high heat. Toast garlic, regularly shaking the pan (approx. 5-8 minutes). Cloves should be golden brown with some dark spots. Remove from heat and allow to cool before removing the skins.
Heat vegetable oil in a heavy pot (I use a Dutch oven) over medium heat. Add onion to the pot and sauté until translucent (approx. 5 minutes). Add herbs and spices and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant. Incorporate tomato paste, tomatoes and 1 cup of vegetable broth to the pot and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves.
Get Fancy: Cut tomatoes in half, toss with olive oil & roast (cut side down) in the oven at 325 degrees for 2 hours for a sweeter, more complex flavor.
Place chiles, peeled garlic cloves, ¼ cup of chile water, and the mixture in the pot into a blender. Only fill your blender half way up. BLEND IN BATCHES AND BLEND CAREFULLY. Be sure to hold a hot towel over the lid of the blender and hold tightly, as the hot liquid will create a lot of pressure.
Return blended mixture to the Dutch oven, add carrots and bring to a boil. Add fried albondigas to the pot, cover and reduce to a simmer for 20-25 minutes until the albondigas are cooked through.
Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges. Serves 4-5.