Mexican Albondigas a Flavorful Spicy Soup

When I initially read the recipe for this soup I was taken with both the unusual combination of every day ingredients and the different preparation as well as content of the meatballs. It is chocked full of vegetables, rice, and low calorie protein. (Compared to meatballs full of ground beef and cheese.)
I had to try it and WOW. It is Really good. Brian loved it and his initial reaction when he saw zucchini in the kettle was to be very negative. So I was pleased when he suggested we have it again tonight!!
This recipe was adapted from a terrific new cookbook Brian got me for an early Valentine's Day. It is called, "mr. sunday's soups" by Lorrane Wallace. I have heard about it for a while now as Lorrane is the wife of Chris Wallace the political analyst on Fox news and he does the big Sunday morning interview and then heads home for lunch. Every week she has a hot kettle of soup on the stove ready and waiting for him and their children. There are more than 75 seasonal soup recipes in her collection and I will try at least 75% of them. They look that good!!

Here are the ingredients as I adapted this soup recipe:

The meatballs:

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs all fat removed ( or you may use 1 pound of breast meat), cut into 1/2" chunks
1 pound pork tenderloin cut into 1/2" chunks
1 medium shredded yellow squash ( about 1 1/2 C.)
1 C. rough cut fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 C. raw long grain white rice
1 large egg
1 t. kosher salt
1 t. freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. I line my baking sheet with foil and toss it at the end of the cooking for faster clean up.

Using a large food processor and the shredding disk process the washed and trimmed yellow squash. Dump the squash onto a plate and switch to the standard chopping blade. Return the squash to the processor bowl and add the chicken, pork, cilantro, rice, egg, salt, and pepper. Process for about 1 
minute until evenly blended.

Scoop out enough mixture to roughly form a 1" meatball. Drop by spoonfuls then form up a bit with your fingers onto the prepared pan. The mixture is wet.

Bake for 18 minutes until firm. Remove from the oven and set aside while you prepare the rest of the soup.
The soup: 

2 T. grape seed or olive oil
1 onion diced
1 red bell pepper seeded trimmed and diced
4 cloves fresh garlic minced
3 qt. chicken broth (12 C.)
1 qt. frozen tomato from my garden or (15 oz. can of drained diced tomato)
4 oz. can chopped green chilies
1/2 C. raw long grain white rice
1 T. ground cumin
1 T. kosher salt
1 T. freshly ground black pepper
1 C. frozen white corn kernels
2 small zucchini thinly sliced
2 T. fresh lime juice

For serving:

Coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
Lime Wedges
Warm Corn tortillas
Diced fresh avocado

Place a large heavy bottomed kettle or dutch oven over medium heat and add the oil. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook for about 5 minutes until the onion is tender. Add the garlic stirring and cook an additional minute. 

Add the broth, tomatoes, chilies, rice, cumin, salt, and black pepper and bring to a boil. 

Using a slotted spoon lower the meatballs into the broth. Heat to simmering. Adjust the heat under the burner to maintain a gentle simmer. Adjust the lid to the kettle so it is not tight but allows steam to escape and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the corn and zucchini and simmer an additional 25 minutes until the rice is fully cooked. 

Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
Ladle into warm bowls and serve with fresh cilantro sprinkled atop and lime wedges on the side.
I cut corn tortillas in strips and fried them until crispy and we also topped our hot soup with them!!

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