Shockingly, we’re well into fall and merely a few weeks from Christmas with hardly any soup transactions to tout in our kitchen this season. That, combined with one of those rocky weeks of doubt, low self-esteem, and dramatic interpretations of life choices mingled with red wine and re-runs of Doctor Who while your other half appeases your request for repeated hugs, screamed for soup.
That’s the type of soup weather that hit our kitchen this week. No dreary cold or drizzly rain. No runny noses or rampant sickness. Just the need for a warm soup belly, and a refrigerator full of ingredients to make it happen.
Whatever kind of week you’re having… whether it’s the highest of the high or the lowest of the low… Let this soup be a part of your life. Immediately. And also let it clear any cold or sinus issues you’re having, because jalapenos.
I had a week of kitchen failures. Just one disappointment or mistake after another, making me want to throw up the white flag and pour the red wine. But like my tech-y husband (or the hilarious IT Crowd on Netflix) says when something’s wrong with any electronic device, “Have you tried turning it off and back on again?”
So that’s what I did. I tried to shut down for a day or two and stop trying so hard. I pinned with no intention of recreating. I watched cooking shows with a pleasant, uncritical eye. I read magazines for enjoyment, not in search of the next idea.
That’s how this Mexican Chorizo Meatball Soup came to be. Feeling refreshed but still in need of a piping hot bowl of warm goodness, I spent a happy evening in the kitchen sans camera or agenda, just making a pot of delicious and unique soup. It cured all that ailed me.
We absolutely adore chorizo, so the meatballs in this soup are a succulent mixture of half ground beef, half smoky, spicy chorizo sausage. The base is a typical concoction of garlic, onion, and tomatoes, with the added element of spicy jalapenos. All of that simmers together, with a bit of lime juice, corn, cumin, and generous salt and pepper. The meatballs plop in with a bit of rice and slowly cook until tenderly finished. We topped our heaping bowls with avocado, cilantro, and an extra wedge of lime juice, because green toppings are just gawgeous.
I love all of the elements this soup offers. I wanted a tomato-y and brothy soup, but also craved a spicy kick to warm my insides. With that spicy, brothy, tomato-y base, I wanted some form of heartiness to sustain me through the frigid 60 degree temperatures in greater Austin, and I wanted it to pack a punch of flavor and texture. If I could top it with an avocado, it’d be the greatest winning soup of all time.
And IT WAS.
I had the means to make a homemade chicken stock on hand, so I used that as my base for the soup. With half a rotisserie chicken in the fridge, carrots, onions, garlic, and a heap of jalapenos, I let them simmer into a savory and spicy concoction. I’ve included the recipe below, but it’s not a required element at all – simply use canned stock or bouillon to meet your needs, but a homemade stock is quiiiiite satisfying, if you have the time and inclination.
So enjoy, friends. Whether you’re battling a cold, braving frigid temperatures, having a crummy week, or just have all of these ingredients lurking in your refrigerator, enjoy this yummy soup that will make your world a spicy, hearty, better place for a while.
Mexican Chorizo Meatball Soup
For the stock (optional)
- 3 quarts water
- Carcass of one chicken (I used a used rotisserie chicken)
- 2 white or yellow onions quartered
- 1 jalapeno halved (seeded if you don't like heat)
- 1 cup carrots roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
- Salt and pepper
For the soup and meatballs
- 8 cups of chicken stock
- 1 white onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic diced
- 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 cup corn kernels (mine were frozen)
- 1/2 cup rice
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1/2 lb chorizo
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons cilantro chopped
- Salt and pepper
- For the stock (optional), bring all ingredients to a boil in a large stock pot. Once boiling, bring to a simmer on low heat and simmer for at least 4 hours. Strain and reserve the stock, discarding the chicken, vegetables, and herbs.
- To prepare the meatballs, combine the ground beef, chorizo, egg, milk, breadcrumbs, cilantro, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Either mix with a spoon or with your hands. Once combined, roll into golf ball-sized balls and set aside.
- Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeno and cook until the onions are translucent, about 4 minutes.
- Add the cumin and a bit of salt and pepper. Add both cans of tomatoes (with juices) and bring to a boil. Bring back down to a simmer.
- Add the corn kernels, rice, and meatballs. Simmer for at least 25 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the meatballs have cooked through. Serve topped with cheese, avocado, cilantro, or fresh lime wedges.
- The stock is entirely optional, but is a nice added touch to the soup with the jalapeno and lime infused throughout.