I love how my son calls this soup- "Irresistible Soup!" That really warms my heart! This is such a delicious play on chicken soup. In Spanish "albondiga" means meatball, and the meatballs in this soup are so, so yummy! I remember when I was visiting some friends in Mexico, they were so excited for me to make my grandma's Swedish meatballs for them for dinner. They were so thrilled with the yummy "albondigas" when I made them in their home. I know that this soup will bring the same joy to you with a little flavor of Mexico.
I had a lot of fun playing around with this recipe, revising it to be gluten free, and it is also naturally dairy free! That is wonderful! I love the combination of mild green chilis, pinto beans and flavorful chicken meatballs in this soup.
And, as my son says- it is so irresistible, it will disappear fast!
I hope that you enjoy a bowl of this amazingly delicious and healthy soup soon on one of these cold winter nights!
Note: You can use canned organic pinto beans instead of soaking/cooking the dried beans ahead of time. This is a great shortcut! Enjoy!
Mexican Chicken Albondiga Soup with Pinto Beans
1 cup dry pinto beans, soaked & cooked in chicken broth or 1 cup canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
6 ounces ground chicken (3/4 cup)
1/2 cup cooked and cooled brown rice
3 tablespoons mild canned green chilis, chopped + extra for the soup (one small can)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg
kosher salt, ground pepper
5 + cups chicken broth + water
1 leek, (white and light green parts only, chopped finely)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup cooked brown rice + cooked pinto beans from above
1/2 cup peeled and finely chopped carrots
1 cup (packed) baby spinach
Note: Use these seasonings according to your taste. I use about 1 teaspoon each of the garlic powder, chili powder, cumin and kosher salt. But, adjust according to how spicy you like your soup.
1. Prepare the beans: If you are cooking your pinto beans from scratch from dry beans: Soak the cup of beans overnight in a bowl with water covering the beans. Store in the refrigerator. In the morning, drain the beans and place them in a large saucepan. Add in enough chicken broth to cover over the beans. Bring the mixture to a boil. Then, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 2-3 hours, or until the beans are tender. Set the beans aside.
2. Make the meatballs: In a medium bowl, combine the ground chicken, spices, rice, egg, green chilis, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Form small to medium meatballs. Heat oil in an electric skillet, then brown the meatballs on both sides. They will finish cooking in the soup.
3. Add olive oil to a large saucepan. Heat the oil. Then, add the leeks. Cook, stirring often until the leeks begin to soften. Add the minced garlic, cook for about a minute. Add the chicken broth and 2 cups of water. Stir in the cooked rice, carrots and beans. Add in the extra garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Season according to your own taste. Bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer for about 8 minutes. Add the meatballs to the soup and the extra green chilis from the can. Simmer for about 3 minutes until the carrots are cooked through. Add in the baby spinach and cook until wilted.
Serve while hot and enjoy!!