There is a Mexican restaurant in my hometown called La Palma. They are my favorite. When I was pregnant with my youngest son, I craved coveted, their Albondigas. My friend Manny is the son and will undoubtedly make a name for himself as a fancy lawyer or DA someday. In the mean time, he is studying hard and working in the family restaurant. His mother Judith, who is gorgeous by the way, makes the best flan I’ve ever tasted as well as this meatball soup that I still think about, even three years after moving away. This is my attempt at putting those cravings to bed with my very own version of albondigas.

You will need the following:

For the meatballs

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • ½ cup long grain rice
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh oregano, chopped or about 1 tbsp dry oregano
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
For Albondigas soup
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, chopped into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) chopped tomatoes. If your market carries the San Marzano brand, buy these! They are delicious and fresh tasting, I highly recommend.
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • juice from ½ lemon
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • fresh cilantro for garnish


  1. In a bowl add the meatball ingredients together and mix well. I found that my hands were the best tool for this task! Shape into balls about 1 inch in diameter. You’ll get 30 to 35 meatballs. Place meatballs in fridge until ready to add to soup.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottom 5 qt pot to medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until translucent. Add carrots and potatoes to pot and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. They should be tender and caramelized.
  3. Add broth, water and tomatoes and seasonings. Bring to a boil and turn down heat, let simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add meatballs one at a time. Cover and let cook over low to medium heat for another 15 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through. Add lemon juice and herbs.


See my beef? It’s rich and red and there isn’t a lot of white. You don’t want to use cheap meat in this. Too much fat will make the soup oily. Plus, grass fed beef means happier cows. Maybe I’m crazy but I bet they taste better 🙂


All that good stuff we added is all up in those balls!


This is the caramelized goodness you want. All of that “crust” on the bottom of the pan will deglaze when you add broth and will add a delicious depth of flavor.


These… I LOVE these tomatoes.

DSC_0337 (2)

All for this yummy bowl of albondigoodness! Swearing Mom out.


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