3-15: Quick Mexican Soup

Simply Delicious has a lot of different kinds of recipes–intricate & laborious French-inspired cuisine as well as simple, weeknight-friendly fare. 3-15: Quick Mexican Soup is obviously (given the name) one of the latter types. Of course, I’ve yet to find a recipe that I don’t make some sort of tweak/edit to, and this recipe will be no different. ?

Most Simply Delicious recipes that claim to be Mexican tend to be more “Tex-Mex” than authentically Mexican. I grew up in Los Angeles–real Mexican food is a BIG part of life there. I’m not saying I’m anywhere close to an expert on the subject, but I feel like I’ve got some sense of the cuisine. Simply Delicious has an idea of where they were going with this soup–I’m just going to help it along a bit. ??

I have a moral objection to throwing loose, raw ground beef just willy-nilly into boiling water. I’m sorry, Simply Delicious–I’m just not going to do it. I feel like flavor-wise, they were headed for an albondigas soup, but just got lazy and decided to just throw the beef in rather than try to make an attempt at shaping them into balls. I think the answer is to just put that step in for them.

Ingredients. My chili powder/Mexican spice has a ton of cumin in it already, so we’ll just skip the extra dash. Carrots are baby carrots (whatever, it works), and I had one yellow & one white onion, so why not both?

They also suggest topping this soup with a sort of avocado crema/gringo guacamole–I’m just going to use sour cream & some shredded cheese since I don’t have any avocados (or the suggested salsa) on hand.

I went back to one of my other old cookbooks for a reference recipe for albondigas soup. I found this cookbook at a LA public library book sale while on the hunt for cheap history & politics books to fill my (at the time) classroom library. Originally published in 1944, this version is from 1967 and has some killer recipes in it.

Here’s Elena’s albondigas recipe, for your own reference. She uses a few different ingredients than we’re using here (notably the pork, rice, egg, & mint), but we’re looking more at technique here than anything else.

If I weren’t at least feigning an effort at sticking to Simply Delicious‘ recipe, I’d adapt it even closer to this method, but the only part I think I’m going to take is the idea of rolling the meat into balls and dropping them into the boiling water, rather than just dumping loose meat into the pot. I don’t think that’s too out of the question, and sticks (for the most part) to the original recipe in terms of ingredients & intent.

Ground beef, which I sprinkled lightly with some of the chili powder & a bit of salt. I rolled all of this into about 16-18 balls (roughly 1 oz each).

Starting the water boiling–it doesn’t look like a lot of liquid, but the level goes up as you add more stuff into it. If you start with too much water, you’ll end up with mismatched levels of spice/ingredients/soup.

Cutting the veggies for the soup–baby carrots make good soup carrots, most of the hard work has already been done.

Dropped my meatballs into the boiling water–even without eggs or any kind of binder, they stay together pretty well.

Added the veggies in after letting the meatballs cook a while. I have to admit, I may have sprinkled a bit of tomato bouillon into the broth along with the can of tomatoes–I needed it to have just a bit more flavor.

Told you the soup looks a lot more full once you add in all the stuff.

After cooking for about 20-30 minutes. Onions & veggies have softened, meatballs are cooked thoroughly.

Here’s my bowl of Mexican soup, slightly tweaked for reasons. I think it’s just as quick to make them into meatballs rather than just loose meat, so I stand by the original moniker of “quick”. The suggested avocado crema topping or salsa works, my plain sour cream and cheese works, or just on its own works too.

As an easy mid-week recipe, this soup’s actually pretty good–with a few adjustments.

Grade: A-