Turkey Twist: Sopa de Albondigas, or Meatball Soup

Turkey Twist:  Sopa de Albondigas, or Meatball Soup

Happy almost Thanksgiving!


I love turkey day and today I get a head start on the holidays because my friend Meatball is throwing a friends-giving pot luck tonight. Turkey, stuffing, booze…all the goods will be there and I see it as a way to get my stomach into tip top shape for Thanksgiving Day back home this Thursday. Thanksgiving eating is a marathon, not a sprint and I take race training very seriously. Anyway, the point behind the above ramble is that my house smells like Thanksgiving as my pumpkin pie finishes up in the oven, with a new pecan crust recipe courtesy of Ambitious Kitchen that I’m test driving. I do love me some pecans.

I also started prepping my Rich Cake fruit mélange for a few weeks from now since the longer that rum sits and does its thing, the better, IMO. If you’re a recent follower on my culinary trip, I’d encourage you to take a look back and try Rutabaga’s fruit cake recipe this holiday season. I was a doubter and fruit cake hater, but as of three years ago, I’m a believer. Try this, and your Christmas dessert table will never be the same.

But, back to the task at hand, I’m cooking Mexico. I told you earlier that I was going to Thanksgiving-ize some of Mexico’s signature dishes and today is where I stand by my word. Sopa de Albondigas.


Have you seen the movie Fools Rush In starting Matthew Perry and Salma Hayek? Well, cheesy romantic as it is, I love it, and I can still remember Salma Hayek describing her grandmother’s Albondigas as a sort of meatball soup. She made it sound so sexy that I knew that, come Mexico, I had to make it. Here I do, with the aforementioned twist.

From what I gather, this meatball soup is popular in Mexico tip to tip and every region, every family, every grandmother has a unique version. Much like the Cock-a-leekie soup and Algerian shorba of yesteryear, it was pretty hard to pin down an “authentic” version. Rice or potatoes? Cream or no cream? Spinach or chard? The possibilities were clearly endless, so I took this opportunity to play a little.

In a nod to Thanksgiving, I used ground turkey thigh to make the meatballs rather than ground beef and I opted for sweet potatoes instead of white. I also though kale sounded lovely, so in that went. However, with the backdrop of the traditional tomatoes, chilies, peppers and spices, it still tastes very much like Mexico.


Also, I realized after I had cooked this that the tomato base was almost identical to what went into the Machaca. If you happen to make that, use the leftover gravy from that in place of the tomato sauce and spices to make this and save a step. It’s almost like two meals in one!

Sopa de Albondigas
Serves 4
A Thanksgiving twist on a traditional Mexican soup
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Total Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr
For the meatballs
  1. 1 pound ground turkey thigh
  2. 3 TB quinoa flakes (or panko breadcrumbs)
  3. 1 egg, beaten
  4. ¼ white onion, finely minced or grated
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
  7. 1 tsp cumin
  8. ½ tsp smoked paprika
  9. ½ tsp Mexican oregano
  10. 2 TB cilantro, fresh, chopped
  11. ½ tsp salt
  12. ½ tsp black pepper
For the rest
  1. 1 TB olive oil
  2. ½ white onion, chopped
  3. 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  4. 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  5. 4-6 cups chicken or turkey stock (depending on how liquidy you want the soup)
  6. 1 cup tomato sauce
  7. 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  8. 1/2 tsp salt
  9. 1/2 tsp black pepper
  10. 1 ½ cups kale, de-ribbed and chopped
  11. 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped into medium sized bits
  12. ½ cup cilantro, fresh, chopped, to serve
  1. Prep the meatballs by combining all of the meatball ingredients in a large bowl. With your HANDS, mash everything together so that it's all well combined. Roll them into tablespoon-size balls and place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Store in the fridge while you make the rest of the soup.
  2. In a large stock pot, add the olive oil and cook over medium heat the onion and jalapeno and cook 4-5 minutes until soft. Add the potatoes and cook 3 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, salt and pepper and cook another 2 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato sauce and stock. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the meatballs, careful to make sure they don't fall apart. Add the kale, cover until the potatoes are soft and the meatballs are cooked through,about 30 minutes.
  4. Serve hot with cilantro.
The Hungary Buddha Eats the World http://thehungarybuddha.com/



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