Lita's Albondigas (Meatball Soup)


My mother Lita (as the grandchildren call her) and I came up with this soup combining several recipes we tried until it was something we liked.

Prep Time:
45 mins
Cook Time:
1 hrs 43 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 28 mins
8 servings



  • 1 pound ground beef

  • ¼ pound tomatillos, husked and chopped

  • 2 eggs, beaten

  • ½ cup uncooked white rice

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • 2 pounds tomatoes, peeled

  • 3 white onions, quartered

  • ¾ pound tomatillos, husked and chopped

  • 2 (7 ounce) cans chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 3 quarts chicken broth

  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

  • 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped

  • 3 stalks celery, chopped

  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges

  • 1 (12 ounce) package corn tortillas


  1. Mix ground beef, 1/4 pound tomatillos, eggs, white rice, 3 cloves garlic, 1 teaspoon cumin, and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl.

  2. Scoop 1 1/2 tablespoon of the beef mixture and roll into a meatball. Repeat with remaining beef mixture.

  3. Combine tomatoes, 1 onion, 3/4 pound tomatillos, chipotle peppers, and 3 cloves garlic in a blender; puree until smooth.

  4. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add tomato puree; cook and stir for 3 minutes. Pour in chicken broth. Season broth with salt and pepper. Bring to a slow boil; reduce heat until broth is barely bubbling.

  5. Lower meatballs carefully into the hot broth; simmer gently for 20 minutes. Add remaining 2 onions, carrots, celery, cilantro, and 1 teaspoon cumin. Simmer until rice in the meatballs is cooked through, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

  6. Squeeze some lemon juice into each bowl. Serve with corn tortillas.

Cook's Note:

Use a combination of ground beef and Mexican chorizo to make the meatballs if desired.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

397 Calories
14g Fat
52g Carbs
19g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 397
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 4g 19%
Cholesterol 90mg 30%
Sodium 2085mg 91%
Total Carbohydrate 52g 19%
Dietary Fiber 10g 36%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 19g
Vitamin C 50mg 252%
Calcium 119mg 9%
Iron 4mg 21%
Potassium 925mg 20%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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