Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Venison Albondigas Soup (Mexican Meatball Soup)

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Rick here. This is a dish my mom Alicia made back when I was a child. She was born in Los Angeles in 1923. She learned to cook the old way, by watching and helping her mother cook. It was during this time that she learned how to make the flavorful Mexican dishes that we kids grew up on. I remember, as a child, watching my mom make these meals and memorizing how she did it. It is my hope to re-create them here on this page, but with a wild game slant to the recipes. Back then, this soup, or "caldo," was made with beef albondigas, or beef meatballs.

So I had an idea. How about using venison instead of beef? It would taste great with the spices in this soup. Turns out, the venison melded perfectly with the traditional Mexican flavors, giving you a hearty and satisfying meal. Something that you can also add to your hot bowl of Venison Albondigas is a nice, big spoonful of my mom's Spanish Rice . It is perfect for a cold, cloudy day. Or for that matter, any day! I hope you enjoy this. 

Servings: 6
Cooking time: About 2 hours
Ingredients:
Meatballs:
- 2 lbs ground venison (with 10% pork fat)
- 1/4 cup white rice (uncooked)
- 1/8 cup minced onion
- 1/4 tsp. table salt
- 1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
The rest of it: 
- 1 tbs. oil
- 1 cup sliced onion
- 1 can (14 oz) Mexican stewed tomatoes
- 2 cups of beef broth
- 3 carrots, cut into equal sized pieces
- 3 celery sticks,cut into equal sized pieces
- 1 large russet potato, cut into equal sized pieces
- 3 tbs. fresh cilantro, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- warm water

1. Preheat medium-sized pot over medium heat. Drizzle the bottom with oil. 
2. When the oil is hot, cook sliced onions and stewed tomatoes for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep from burning.
3. After the onions and tomatoes are ready, pour warm water into the pot, about halfway. Stir in the beef broth. 
Turn up the heat to high and bring to a boil. 

4. In a large bowl, mix together the ground venison, salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, minced onion and uncooked rice. 
5. Roll the venison mixture into small meatballs. Try to get the balls as compact as you can. Unlike beef, ground venison doesn't hold as well because it's so lean. Place on wax paper. 

6. When the soup starts boiling, turn the heat to low. Carefully place the meatballs into the soup once it comes back down to a low simmer. You want to do this with a lot of care to prevent breakage. It's very important that the soup stays at a simmer.
 7. Simmer the meatballs over low heat for 45 minutes, covered. 
8. Chop carrots, celery and the potato into equal sized pieces. 
9. After the 45 minutes, add the veggies. Continue to cook uncovered for 1 hour or until the veggies are soft. 
10. When you're done, stir in fresh cilantro. Fresh herbs are best added last for maximum flavor. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Enjoy with hot corn tortillas or Spanish rice.


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1 comment:

  1. Hi Rick! We love this soup! I have only made a few changes because I live in Canada and I have never seen a can of Mexican stewed Tomatos. So I added in a chopped jalepeno and a teaspoon of cumin. Also I replaced some of the water with extra beef broth (I usually use four cups beef broth and four cups water). I also grate my carrots and say no to the cilantro. It is our new favorite soup in the winter time. Thanks for the great recipe!

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