Albondigas (Mexican Meatballs)

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Albondigas (Mexican Meatballs)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb bulk Mexican chorizo (I use my homemade version)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (preferably fresh)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced (plus 1/4 cup minced, for garnish)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Combine all of the meatball ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pinch off about 1.5 tablespoons of filling and roll it into a ball about 1 inch in diameter. Repeat until you have made about 30 meatballs. Place the meatballs on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, until cooked through and sizzling.

Remove from oven. Serve over Spanish rice.

NOTES

Pretty much every time Steve and I ate my Albondigas Soup, one or both of us would say “you know, at some point, we should just have these meatballs by themselves over Spanish rice.” Obvious yet brilliant. So I finally did it and oh man, what an awesome little meal. Proud of this one.

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Spanish Rice

img_3461Spanish Rice

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
  • 1/8 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 3 cups water or chicken stock
  • 1/2 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce

Method

Heat the oil in pan over medium heat. Add the rice and onion; stir to coat. Saute until rice is starting to brown. Add the spices, water/stock, and tomato sauce. Stir and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes, until rice is cooked. Remove from heat and let sit for 15 minutes, still covered, then fluff rice with a fork. Serve.

NOTES

For some reason, since moving back to Texas in 2011, I have had major Spanish rice problems. I made it fine for years in California but could not get it to work here. Most of the time, it came out undercooked and on the rare occasions when I didn’t, it was a big pan of soft mush.

But recently, through a lot of trial and error, weighing my ingredients, deleting another ingredient, and paying close attention to the browning process, I finally – FINALLY – have a Spanish rice recipe that works consistently again. I seriously cannot express how happy this makes me. A years-long kitchen fail and I conquered it. Yeah baby.

Creamy Salsa Chicken

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Creamy Salsa Chicken
adapted from Dinners, Dishes & Desserts

Ingredients

  • 1-1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups salsa
  • 1 cup stock or water
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Method

In a large skillet over medium high heat, brown chicken for 4-5 minutes until no longer pink. Add onion and saute for another 2-3 minutes until onion is soft and chicken is cooked through. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add seasonings, salsa, water, and corn to the pan and stir to combine. Turn heat down to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in the sour cream and lime juice. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro.

NOTES

My kind of meal: one pan, 20 minutes, simple, totally delicious. I served it over Spanish rice with a warmed, rolled up corn tortilla on the side. This one is definitely going on repeat!

Albondigas (Mexican Meatball) Soup

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Albondigas (Mexican Meatball) Soup
adapted from Use Real Butter

Ingredients

Soup

  • 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ancho chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon New Mexican chile powder
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 1 14.5-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 canned chipotle chile, minced, plus 1-2 teaspoons adobo sauce
  • 2 carrots, sliced into coins
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup uncooked rice

Meatballs

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb bulk Mexican chorizo (I use my homemade version)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (preferably fresh)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced (plus more, chopped, for garnish)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large stock pot over medium heat and sauté the onion until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds. Add the spices, broth, tomatoes, chipotle, carrots, zucchini, and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer (medium-low heat) for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine all of the meatball ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pinch off about 1.5 tablespoons of filling and roll it into a ball about 1 inch in diameter. Repeat until you have made about 30 meatballs. Place the meatballs on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until cooked through and sizzling.

Add the cooked meatballs and rice to the soup and simmer for another 15-18 minutes, until rice is tender. Serve hot and garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.

NOTES

Albondigas Soup is one of those random things that has been on my back burner for about four years now. Fellow longtime cooks, you know this scenario: it was one of those dishes I heard about, envisioned a certain way, failed at on my first attempt, then subsequently filed away for far too long until I figured out how I was going to approach it differently. Well, now my cooking skills have caught up with my imagination, and this recipe is the result.

AND HOLY @*&# THIS WAS GOOD. Like… top ten recipes of all time good. Like, cook to impress guests good. Like total shock, I could never have imagined it would turn out this amazing, CRAZYFREAKINGGOOD.

If you don’t have homemade chorizo, no problem, use the store stuff. If you don’t have Ancho or New Mexican chile powder, no problem, just use a teaspoon of whatever ya got. But don’t let anything stop you from making this if it strikes your fancy. I promise you will not regret the effort.

Chicken Enchilada Quinoa Stew

Chicken Enchilada Quinoa Stew

Ingredients

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
1 small sweet or yellow onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, any color, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons oregano (I use Mexican)
2 teaspoons chile powder (I use Ancho and New Mexican)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup dry quinoa
1 14.5-oz. can petite diced tomatoes
1 7-oz. can diced green chiles, drained
1 10-oz. can mild or medium enchilada sauce
2 cups water
1 cup frozen corn
1 14.5-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup (2 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese

Optional, for serving: chopped cilantro, scallions, tortilla chips, salsa, etc.

Method

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in large pot over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink, about 5-6 minutes. Add onion and bell pepper and cook until just soft, another 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, oregano, chile powder, and salt and stir through for another 30 seconds.

Reduce heat to medium low and add quinoa, tomatoes, diced chiles, enchilada sauce, and water. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure quinoa is not sticking.

Add corn, black beans, and cheese, and stir to combine. Serve with desired accompaniments.

NOTES

This has a similar flavor profile and ingredients as my chicken tortilla soup, but the addition of enchilada sauce and quinoa turns this into something entirely different – and outstanding. Definitely keeping this in rotation for a while!

Chipotle Chicken Chili

Chipotle Chicken Chili
(heavily altered, but inspired by this post from Pioneer Woman)

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces (see NOTES)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt (or to taste)
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 12-ounce bottle beer (I used regular Modelo)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 15-oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 whole chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced, plus 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
  • 1 14.5-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 14.5-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 14.5-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • For serving: minced cilantro, sour cream, shredded cheese, cilantro, scallions, limes, corn chips, etc.

Method

Heat large pot over medium high heat, then add the chicken, cumin, oregano and salt. Saute for about 7 or 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked through. Add the onion and garlic and stir. Cook for a few minutes more, until onion is soft. Add the beer and cook for 2 minutes to slightly reduce. Add the water, tomatoes, chipotles, beans and ancho chili powder. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a hard simmer. Let cook for 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the lime juice; stir to combine, then remove from heat. Serve with desired accompaniments.

NOTES

Salty, sweet, smoky, spicy; this was instant love. Intense flavor with so few ingredients and chock full of protein to boot? Our perfect kind of meal.

Note: as always, if you start with chicken breast, you will need a teaspoon or two of oil to get things going.

Mexican Chicken and Rice Soup

Mexican Chicken and Rice Soup
inspired by Gimme Some Oven

Ingredients

1.25 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 small white onion, chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
1 small chayote, diced
1 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
4 cups stock or water
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 cup frozen corn
2 chipotles in adobo sauce, roughly chopped + 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
3 cups cooked white rice (yield from 1 cup dry)
1 cup salsa verde (I used a little can of Herdez)
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Garnish: diced avocado, fresh cilantro, tortilla chips, shredded cheese, scallions, lime wedges

Method

Heat a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add chicken, onion, jalapenos, chayote, bell pepper, garlic, salt, cumin and oregano. Saute for about 8 to 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the chicken nearly cooked through.

Add stock, tomatoes, corn, chipotles and adobo sauce and stir to combine. Heat until boiling, then reduce heat to medium and let it simmer at a hard bubble for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the rice, salsa verde, lime juice and cilantro.

Serve warm with desired garnishes.

NOTES

This was nothing short of fabulous. I consider it a worthy successor to my old chicken tortilla soups – heartier, spicier, somehow a little more complex. Absolutely love. I foresee this being a permanent fixture.