Meatball Soup is one of those soups can could also be called a stew. It can be served as a soup, with a rich broth for the meat and vegetables to almost “swim” in, or it can be “beefed” up to a stew-like dish, with loads of meatballs, carrots, squash, or other vegetables.
Soup in New Mexico and in Mexico comes in two forms, Sopa and Sopa Seca (dry soup). To say dry soup sounds like an oxymoron. How can something like soup be dry? It is not that the soup is dry so much as it is not really a soup, but something more like a stew or even a casserole. It may be a dish that started out more like a soup, but the addition of multiple vegetables or meats makes it so hearty that it can only be considered a stew. The recipe here is one for the actual soup, not the sopa seca, but it can be easily changed to make this sopa a seca one.
This recipe, comments and photos are courtesy of Cynthia Detterick-Pineda of Andrews, TX. More of Cynthia’s Southwest Recipes.
In a large bowl, mix the ground beef and pork together. Add the egg, uncooked rice, and yerba buena (mint); mixing it well. Make balls out of the meat mixture that are approximately 1 to 2 inches in diameter; set these to the side while you prepare the broth. This should make about 2 dozen (24) meatballs.
In a large soup pot or Cast iron Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat.
Add the onion and saute until clear. Add the garlic and continue to saute for another minute. Add the beef broth and the canned tomatoes to the soup pot and increase the heat so it comes to a full boil.
Carefully add the prepared meatballs, 1 or 2 at a time, to the boiling mixture. NOTE: You want to add them slowly enough that the broth is still boiling when you add more (this helps to keep the meatballs together by quickly cooking the outside of the meatball).
Once all the meatballs are added, reduce the heat to medium low and cover. Continue to cook for 30 minutes, without stirring. Remove from heat.