Mexican meatball soup photo by vsimon
Soup for supper? This soup is hearty enough. Garnish with diced avocado and serve with cornbread or corn chips. Ah, comfort food.
Keep it simple
This was a tasty recipe as written. But I simplified it a bit, using a convenience ingredient available in the freezer section. It is a diced blend of onion, celery and sweet pepper.
I use it all the time to cut down on chopping (ha-ha). If you love the meditative rhythm of chopping, you can use 3 cups total of diced raw onion, celery and bell pepper. Any combination will do.
Keep it healthy
Super lean ground beef works well here. These little meatballs made with cornmeal are so tender. No need for greasy high fat ground meat. So I omitted the ground pork found in the original recipe.
And I subbed cooked whole grain brown rice for the white rice. I always cook this in a pressure cooker because it is fast and easy. It may be time to make friends with one.
Or, if you are not ready to make that first step yet, you can cook a batch of brown rice on the stovetop. Cool, and freeze some to add later to soups like this. It can go right from the freezer into the soup pot.
Keep it gluten free
Read the label on the salsa if you buy it instead of make it yourself. Most are gluten free, but check.
Mexican Meatball Soup with Rice and Cilantro
Adapted from a recipe on epicurious.com by Jill Cole of Fallbrook, California.
Servings: 6 to 8 supper servings.
|10 oz frozen chopped onions/ celery/ pepper blend
|1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
|3 cups water
|1 28-ounce canned or jarred diced tomatoes in juice
|1 pound lean ground beef
|6 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
|1/4 cup liquid, milk or water
|1 large egg
|1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
|1 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
||? Can you tell me?
|1/2 cup chunky tomato salsa
|1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
diced avocado to garnish, optional
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion blend and garlic. Sauté 5 minutes.
Add water and tomatoes with juices. Bring to a simmer.
Meanwhile, make meatballs. Combine ground beef, cornmeal, liquid, egg, salt, pepper, and cumin, in a medium bowl. Mix well.
Shape meat mixture into little ½” balls. Add meatballs to simmering soup as you shape each one. Gently stir occasionally to keep them from clumping together.
Cover and simmer until meatballs are cooked through, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Add cooked rice, salsa, and most of the cilantro. Save a bit of cilantro for a garnish if you like.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
We like thick soups, but you can add additional water to desired consistency. Cook a bit longer if needed to warm it up.
Pour into soup bowls and garnish with diced avocado.
Leftovers? Heat them up in the morning and put in a thermos for lunch.
New info on rice
Arsenic in some rice? Really? Darn! Do I need to be concerned?
Tricia Thompson, MS, RD, writes a blog called Living Gluten Free at diet.com. Tricia is an expert on gluten free ingredients and labeling. A recent post is called Gluten-Free Diet, Arsenic, and Rice.
As noted in Tricia’s post, cooking rice in large volumes of low arsenic water and draining off the water can lower the arsenic content of the finished rice. See a scientific abstract at ScienceDirect titled Arsenic burden of cooked rice: Traditional and modern methods.
Bottom line: I am not overly concerned about the levels of arsenic in rice. I will continue to enjoy whole grain rices. And I will continue to cook it in a pressure cooker without lots of extra water. But my diet is not based on rice or rice flour.
Enjoy the large variety of gluten free ingredients, don’t get stuck on just a few. There are many gluten free whole grains and flours to choose from.
And in this recipe, you can omit the rice if you like. The soup will not be as thick, it will still be tasty.