Sopa de albóndigas, or meatball soup, is a Mexican comfort food. Typically prepared with a combination of beef and pork, this recipe works great with venison, wild hog, bear, and even ground turkey. I grind venison with about 15% beef or pork fat to add richness to the meatballs.
My husband’s mother would garnish albóndigas soup with cilantro, so that’s what I use in this recipe. However, fresh mint is also widely used. Carrots, celery, and potatoes are standard for this recipe, but you can add whatever vegetables you like or are in season.
Time to make
2 lbs. ground venison
¼ cup grated onion
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ cup uncooked white rice
½ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. garlic powder
Freshly cracked pepper, to taste
1 medium onion, chopped
14 oz. can stewed tomatoes
4 cups brown game/beef stock
4 cups water
3 carrots, diced
2 ribs of celery, diced
1 to 2 large waxy potatoes, diced
½ tsp. dried oregano
Freshly cracked pepper and salt, to taste
Small bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
Warm tortillas, optional
Also works with
Any ground meat
- In a soup pot over medium heat, sweat chopped onion and a pinch of salt with olive oil until translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add stewed tomatoes and sauté for about 1 to 2 minutes. Break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Add stock and water and bring to a boil.
- Meanwhile, combine meatball ingredients in a mixing bowl and work with your hands until well combined. You should no longer be able to see pieces of ground meat; the mixture should look closer to a uniform paste, which will help the meatballs stay together.
- When the soup comes to a boil, lower heat to simmer. Roll venison mixture into 2-inch wide meatballs. Carefully drop them one by one into the simmering soup. Bring soup back to a simmer and cook partially uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and gently.
- After 30 minutes, add celery, carrots, potatoes, and oregano to soup and simmer for an additional 30 to 45 minutes until veggies become tender.
- Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. If you have Mexican-style beef/chicken bouillon on hand, use that instead of salt to season. Garnish soup with freshly chopped cilantro before serving with warm tortillas and lime wedges on the side.