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Michael in Phoenix

Rec: Albondigas (Mexican Meatball Soup) calls for a mixture of half ground pork and...


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Joined: Dec 9, 2005

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Posted to Thread #385 at 3:24 pm on Jan 11, 2006

...half ground beef. I have subbed all ground turkey and found it to be just as tender and flavorful as the original. And cheaper!

I think because the meatballs are seasoned and the broth is as well, the substitution of the turkey isn't really noticeable. (Carnitas recipe follows, in case you want to make the broth for the soup. Kind of a long way to go to use up some ground turkey, but, hey, both of these freeze well, and are well received by family or guests.)

Albondigas (Mexican Meatball Soup)

1/2 pound lean ground beef

1/2 pound lean ground pork

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 tsp. dried Mexican oregano leaves,
crushed

1/8 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground

1/4 cup long grain rice, uncooked

2 medium carrots, sliced

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed (1/2"
to 3/4" cube)

1 6 oz. can tomato paste

Broth from one recipe of Carnitas, about
4 quarts of liquid

Skim fat that rises to the surface of
the broth with a spoon. Remove as much
as you can, but a little bit left in
the soup will intensify the flavor. Strain
the broth through a colander lined with
cheesecloth, to remove whole spices, onion,
etc. Return to stockpot and hold, off heat.

In a large bowl, combine egg, cilantro,
oregano and pepper. Add ground beef and
ground pork, uncooked rice and mix well.
Form meat mixture into balls approximately 1
to 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

Return stockpot to heat and bring broth to
simmer. Add tomato paste and stir to mix
well. Add sliced carrots and simmer for 5
minutes. Carefully add meatballs, a few at a
time, until they are all in the pot. (Don't
splash and burn yourself!) Add potatoes and
bring the pot to a boil. Immediately lower
heat to simmer. Simmer about 30 minutes, or
until meatballs and veggies are done. Ladle
into bowls and serve with warm tortillas.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.


Notes: I don't salt the soup until it is
done, then I correct the salt, if necessary.
Sometimes I cheat and add a teaspoon of Knorr
granulated chicken bouillon instead of salt.
It is typical of commercial bouillons in that
it is mostly salt anyway.

You can add water to the broth to make 4
quarts if you are a bit short, but I usually
make up for the addition by adding 1/2
teaspoon of bouillon along with the water.
It seems to help keep the flavor from getting
too diluted. This rarely happens if you've
kept enough water in the stockpot to cover
the meat while you're making the carnitas.

Also, for you haters of cilantro, parsley can
be substituted. (But don't come cryin' to me
if it just doesn't taste right! Just
teasin'!).

Enjoy!

CARNITAS (translated: "little meats")

1 4 to 5 pound pork shoulder or butt, left
whole, bone-in, but trimmed of large
pieces of exterior fat and rind

1 large yellow onion, peeled, quartered

1 Tbsp. coriander seeds (whole seeds, NOT
ground)

1 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds (whole, not ground)

2 tsp. dry oregano leaves (not ground)

2 bay leaves

water

Place all ingedients into a 6 to 8 quart
stock pot. Pour in enough water to just
cover the meat.

Heat to a boil, reduce to a slow simmer,
cover and allow to cook until meat easily
shreds with two forks. This takes somewhere
between 3 and 5 hours. Add more boiling
water, as necessary, to keep meat covered.

Heat oven to 450 degrees F.

Remove meat from the stock pot and place in a
large 13" x 9" roasting pan. (Reserve
broth for Albondigas). Gently pull meat
apart, discarding excess fat, bone and any
connective tissue. Meat should be in small
to medium-size chunks, spread out in the pan.

Bake, uncovered, in the 450 degree oven until
the meat is browned and sizzling hot, about
20 minutes. Remove from oven, place meat on
warmed platter and serve.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Notes: The key to getting the flavor just
right is not to be too heavy-handed with the
spices. By using the whole seeds when
simmering the pork, you are able to impart a
flavor that does not overpower the meat.
Also, as a minor point, Mexican oregano is
best in this dish, not the Mediterranean
oregano.

The meat makes an excellent entree by itself,
but our habit is to use it as an absolutely
fantastic filling for burritos, tacos,
tortas, and a topping for tostadas. Excellent
with fresh salsa, sour cream, white or yellow
cheeses, etc.

Enjoy!

Michael


Human liberty is about courage, dignity, eternal truths, and personal responsibility. Star Parker


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