Friday, February 12, 2010

The Bounty... and Albondigas soup

No, not the ship "The Bounty" ... but rather, my veggie garden.
Well, if the plants are in little pots, and big pots, and any "available, empty, and will hold a plant" sized pots, and they're scattered everywhere... to get the best light, least wind and all that... can it still be technically called a "garden"?

Too bad.

I've got dozens of tomatoes still coming on, (note to self: 12 plants are too many for just 2 of us, unless you want to continue to alienate your friends, so never go this crazy again) enough apple cukes to choke a whole herd of horses, and the grapes. (okay, well they're actually the neighbors grapes, but since they're hanging over my side of the fence, I'm going with the "possesion is 9/10's of the law thing here)... Plus I've got peppers, (little ones, big ones, mild ones and the
"I wish someone would stick a fire extinguisher down my throat, and put the damn fire out", ones.

As well as a couple of big bowls of mixed lettuces and pots and pots of herbs like cilantro and parsley, chives, basil and the like.
So yeah baby... I've got bounty.

And with all that wonderful, amazing bounty growing just just mere feet from my back door, I decided to make something that requires.... well hell... mostly none of that stuff.
Well it does... but only to a point.
Which is mostly tomatoes and fresh herbs... and some ground pork that's taking up room in my freezer right now.

I'm making Sopa de Albondigas... (Mexican meat ball soup) from a recipe a girlfriend sent me a year or so back, which is a close approximation of what her mother used to make for us when we were just kids. It's not the same, but it's the closest thing we've found yet.

I've used the same basic recipe about a dozen times, adding, subtracting, and doctoring it up to my hearts content, and we love it around here, no matter what I put in it.

But, because I never remember to write down my experimental variations, I'll be stickin' with the standard recipe tonight.
Except... I'm using a mixture of ground pork and ground beef (mince) instead of just the plain beef.
The original Albondigas recipe is just about as perfect as it gets, but I've got a heap of ground pork to use up... because I'm trying to clear out the freezer in hopes of buying a new frost-free freezer this week.
Because I hate defrosting the freezer.

Anyway, this is the basic recipe, but I usually divide the listed ingredients in half - which pretty much makes 4 servings, which is just enough for the Old Guy and I... and some left over for the next day.
It's very adaptable, so just have fun with it!
Feel free to add any veggies you may want, because with the basic spicy broth and the seasoned meatballs, just about anything works great.

Sopa de Albondigas
(Serves eight.)

2 quarts beef broth
6 corn tortillas, cut in strips and fried
1 - 1 lb 12 ounce can pureed tomatoes (or fresh - it's your choice.. Just mash 'em a bit first)
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp basil
2 bay leaves
1/2 to 1 cup salsa fresca
1 lb ground beef
1 cup cooked white rice
1 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp pepper

In a Dutch oven, place beef broth, pureed tomatoes, spices and salsa, and half the onion and garlic.
Heat to boiling on high, then cover and reduce heat to low.
In a large bowl, mix ground beef with cooked rice, the remaining onion and garlic, salt and pepper.
Form into meatballs and fry in a skillet until done. Drain.
Add meatballs to broth and simmer for two to three hours. (maybe less, depending on your pot)
Just before serving, add the fried tortilla chip strips and maybe a sprinkling of cilantro.

The soup can be kept in the fridge for several days, or any leftovers can be frozen.
And it's great served with quesadillas, or even just hot, buttered, flour tortillas.

EDIT: Just decided I won't be making the Albondigas today after all.... We're going to COSTCO, baby! * doin' some happy dancin'!*


farmlady said...

Well gee wiz girl. you get us all worked up about this Albondigas soup and how good it is and then you change your mind because you get to go to COSTCO? What's with that? I was thinking you could just send me some after you made it. Now, I'll just have to make it myself.
Have fun a COSTCO....

Pam said...

I'm trying to keep my rosemary alive in this cold and you're talking about your bounty!!

joolzmac said...

Sorry you've had some sad/bad times in moving on with your young fella. Fostering/caring for someone with a disability is hard enough when things go well let alone when things don't. I'm sure your time together has made a difference in his life for the better. I have only admiration for anyone who takes on fostering/caring.
So what bargains did you get at Costco? I need to get some Pop Tarts for Kirby but she doesn't like the frosted ones. By the way, the soup sounds interesting.

Cheers - Joolz

Cheers - Joolz

Marjie said...

I'm jealous! I'm covered up in snow here, and we never got a single tomato that didn't get blight. But spring will be here in a few short months. Enjoy your Costco trip!

Homestay Mama said...

I've copied and saved your recipe and will try it one of these days. It looks perfect for my diet restrictions!

Hope you had fun at Costco!


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