Phil's International Flair

Welcome to the April issue of Seasoned Cooking and Phil's International Flair! This month, I will present another recipe from Louisa's Kitchen, A Glimpse into Mexican Heritage. This traditional Mexican soup makes a great introduction to any Mexican meal, or it can be served as a meal in itself. This recipe has been improved over the version published here in February 1998, the first issue of Seasoned Cooking. A photograph has been included here as well.

Louisa's Kitchen can be ordered from the Phil's Fine Foods web site for only $3.95. Everyone who orders before June 1 will be entitled to a free copy of the second revision that is currently in progress. The second revision of the book will feature more of Sandy's reduced fat recipes that are modifications to the original Mexican recipes, in addition to some new recipes and more from the family archives.

Feel free to email me at with your comments and requests. Be well, and good eating!

Now, on to the recipe!

An old standby in the menu of any Mexican chef is Albondigas. Albondigas is a meatball soup with a traditional Mexican flair.

Sandy, co-author of Louisa's Kitchen, prefers to use ground turkey or chicken in this recipe for reduced fat content. If you choose to do this, Sandy suggests that you increase the amount of seasoning in the meatballs and substitute vegetable or chicken stock in place of some of the water to produce a richer broth. Sandy is currently refining the final result that will appear in the next revision of Louisa's Kitchen.

  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 quarts water
  • 5 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • 2 lb. ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 bunch chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 lb. uncooked rice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 zucchini (diced)
  • 1/2 carrot (grated)

In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil, chopped onion and half the garlic. Simmer over medium heat until the onion becomes translucent or slightly glazed. Add the crushed tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes to infuse the flavors. Add a little salt and pepper to season. Next, add the water and bring the temperature to a simmer over medium low flame.

While the water comes to a simmer, combine the ground beef, egg, rice, salt, pepper, remaining garlic, and chopped cilantro in a bowl. Mix the ingredients well by hand and then form the mixture into meatballs about 1 inch in diameter. Drop the meatballs into the simmering stock and cook uncovered for 45 minutes.

Finally, add the diced zucchini. Allow to simmer 10 more minutes before serving. Garnish each bowl with about 1 tsp. grated carrot and a bit of chopped cilantro before serving.

  • Yields: 10 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour