Thursday, January 8, 2009

Recettes Secrètes: Megan's Albondigas


The day after Christmas, my family got together with my brother-in-law's family to take my niece on a hay ride to view Christmas lights in Tucson's most notoriously lit-up neighborhood, fittingly called Winterhaven. My sister invited us over to their home for a light dinner beforehand, and the Albondigas she whipped up was probably the best I've ever had. Below is how she makes it..

Megan’s Albondigas
Okay- this is kind of a mix between tortilla soup and albondigas. Sometime I make it and just add shredded chicken instead of the meatballs and call it tortilla soup. It can be served over tortilla chips or just with warm fresh tortillas on the side. And any or all or none of the toppings can be used. Adjust everything to taste and add or subtract whatever sounds good to you…
PS… it keeps for at least a week and re-heats well…and freezes really well.

Stock-
In a large pot…
Saute:
Olive oil
1-2 white onions chopped (large pieces are fine)
3-4 carrots chopped (large pieces are fine)
Once the above are getting soft:
Add 3-8 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed or halved
1-2 tsp oregano (Mexican is best)
1-2 tsp (or more) New Mexico chili powder
1-2 tsp (or more) ground cumin
(can add any other Mexican spices if you want…cayenne, pato sauce etc)
Stir a bit more, then add:
½ -1 bunch cilantro (whole, stems and all)- reserve some for meatballs and topping too…
Chicken stock (as much broth as you want)- I do a huge pot and use 8-12 cups
1 can diced (or petite diced) tomatoes (optional)
1-2 limes juiced
Cover and let simmer for 20 min to 2 hours….

Meatballs-
In a bowl, mix (but don’t over work)…
1 lb ground beef (or Turkey) – this will make about 4-6 servings, I usually do 2- 21/2 lbs and if I have extra, I can eat them later.
1-2 eggs (depending on amount of meat)
¾- 1 ½ cup dry bread crumbs (homemade, plain from can or Italian seasoned from can)
Ground cumin to taste (1 tsp or more)
Chili powder to taste (1 tsp or more)
Mex oregano to taste (1 tsp or more)
Pato sauce to taste (if you want it spicey)
Minced garlic to taste ( 1-4 cloves)
Minced cilantro and/or Italian parsley ( half cup?)
Lime juice to taste (a squeeze or so)
Salt and pepper to taste (or garlic salt or whatever you want to add)
If you want- make a small patty (a tablespoon or so) of the mixture and cook it up on high heat for a minute or so in a small fry pan to taste and see if seasoning need adjustment.

Once mixed, form into uniform size balls- a few larger ones, or lots of little ones…and place on ungreased bar pan (Stone with sides). Cook in oven at 375 until browned maybe 20 minutes or more. You don’t need to turn them if you cook them in the stone. When done, drain on paper towels.
When stock is ready, strain into a new pot (or bowl and then back into original pot). SAVE the carrots if they are still somewhat hard (if they are mushy-discard). If saving the carrots, dice them into smaller bite size pieces and put back in the broth. If the carrots are mush…dice a few new uncooked carrots into bite sizes and add to stock and simmer till tender.

Soup- add to stock
Meatballs
Black beans (optional- to taste)
Corn (optional to taste)
Zucchini and/or yellow squash cut up (how ever much you want)
1 more can diced tomatoes (strained- or fresh diced tomatoes)
1 small can green chilis (optional- I didn’t have these that night, sometimes I add them)
Cooked rice –
(Now…I usually cook my rice separately before hand and then add it to the soup. You CAN add it uncooked to the soup and let it cook in the soup.. BUT it will use a cup or two of your broh, so if you add it uncooked, you may want to add more chicken stock). Sometimes I will add some of the cooked rice to the meatballs too!
I have also in a pinch used a diced potato or two in place of rice (cooked either before or cooked right in the soup).
Simmer until all the veggies are tender and you are ready to serve. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Add more Pato or other hot sauce if you want more kick.

Optional toppings:
Shredded cheddar or mex mix cheese
Crumbled Cojita cheese
Lime wedges
Sour cream
Minced Cilantro
Pato/hot sauce
Tortilla chips
Warm tortillas
[That's totally not my photo]

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