Being sick is no fun. When I do get sick, I have to have albondigas (Mexican meatball soup). I got this recipe from my friend, Claudia. She used to make it for me when I lived in LA.
I have altered the recipe to fit my palette over the years, as anyone can do.
First, decide on what kind of meat you want to use. I have made this soup with ground turkey meat on one occasion and with ground beef on others. Some recipes call for ground beef and sausage together (I am going to need to try this).
1 lb of meat (you can use beef, pork, turkey)
1-2 zucchini, cut into bite size portions
1-2 yellow squash, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 head of cabbage, chopped
1 cup of sliced carrots, fresh is better than can, but you can substitute with canned carrots
1/2 cup uncooked rice, about (you're mixing into the meat)
1 serrano pepper, diced, optional
Salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder, onion powder (or fresh onions and garlic, fine chopped/minced)
I season the ground beef with garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper (I like spicy food), adobo seasoning and mix. Once you have it mixed, sprinkle rice in the meat (this time I used Basmati rice). I normally use jasmine rice, but you can use calrose rice. The rice is going to be used to help keep the form of the meat ball, so make sure you sprinkle enough in the meat mix.
Once you mixed the meat let it sit while you prepare a 9x9 pan with wax paper. Roll the meat into balls and place in the 9x9 pan. Once all the meat is rolled into balls, place the pan into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. The longer in the refrigerator, the better.
Fill a pot (at least a 4qt, you are making a soup, so really think about the size of the pot you are going to use) with water and let come to a boil. I cut one Serrano chili pepper and put that bad boy in the water. Once you see bubbles at the bottom of the pot, slowly and I MEAN slowly add the meat balls one at a time.
Let the pot come to a boil. You may see some rice floating in the rolling boil. Add potatoes ("What's Taters eh?" Sorry, Lord of the Rings reference) and let it cook. You can turn the heat down to medium so that the potatoes can cook.
From this point, you should have your veggies cut, washed and ready to cook. You can use whatever veggies you want. I use zucchini, squash, carrots and cabbage. I add the cabbage last because I enjoy the cabbage crunchy.
Make sure you taste every now and then. I don't use salt in my food, but occasionally I'll add more adobo seasoning and fresh ground pepper.
You can make Spanish rice from scratch (if you are feeling frisky!!). I typically do, but I forgot tomato sauce this time.
Ingredients for Spanish rice (according to me):
1-2 cups uncooked rice
1 tomato, diced
1 can tomato sauce (4 or 6 0z can is fine)
1 12oz can sweet corn (optional)
1 tbsp vegetable oil (or canola oil)
Warm a pot (I use a risotto pot) with a tablespoon of oil then add a cup of rice (or two - depending how many you are feeding) and cook until white. Add a small can of tomato sauce and mix. Add water (I am not very good at measuring water to rice on paper, but at least cover the rice and maybe add half a cup of water to it. Let it come to a boil, then reduce and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the water is cooked away. I usually add fresh cut tomatoes before adding the water for a bit of flair.
When serving, pour the soup over the rice then add fresh cilantro and the warm tortillas on the side.
Now, my hubby is definitely American (and happens to be half Colombian) and he was not aware of this soup. He did mention that his mom made a similar soup, but used beef chunks. This soup is best during the winter months and of course when someone is sick. The alternate to chicken noodle soup if you ask me! When you make it a few times, you will figure out what works best in your soup. Let me know your thoughts!