I love tortilla soup. I’m very picky about a few things in life, though, and tortilla soup is one of them. Hamburgers are another, but I’ll save that for another day. This tortilla soup passed my picky test and I loved the spicy flavor, as well as the change-up of meatballs in place of chicken.
I originally came across this recipe on a great blog called elefantitas alegres and decided to give it a try this week. She noted that the meatballs took a while to make, so I decided to use frozen meatballs that I had on hand. Another option would be to make the meatballs in advance and freeze them for later use.
Although using frozen meatballs was a time saver, this recipe was still very labor intensive. I’d recommend you make it on a Sunday, rather than a Monday. But definitely make it, it’s delicious.
Here’s what you need:
- 24 frozen meatballs
- 2 jalapeño peppers
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 green bell pepper
- 2 cups frozen corn
- 4 (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut into 1/2-inch-thick strips
- Cooking spray
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 2 cups (3/4-inch) cubed red potatoes
- 1 cup (1/2-inch-thick) slices carrot
- 3 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon chipolte chile sauce
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
If you choose to make your own meatballs, you’ll also need this:
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- 1 pound ground sirloin
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce, minced
Start by preheating your broiler. Cut jalapeños and bell peppers in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and membranes. Use a spoon to remove the seeds from the jalapenos, it works really well.
Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Arrange corn on a separate baking sheet, my peppers didn’t blacken enough because they were surrounded by corn.
Broil 4 to 6 minutes or until the skins are blackened, turning corn once.
Place peppers in a paper bag, folded down to seal in the steam.
Aren’t you glad I took a picture of a brown paper bag? Yes, you’re welcome.
Let the bag stand for 15 minutes and start chopping your other veggies. You’ll need one and a half onions or about 2 cups chopped.
Then chop your potatoes. Start by chopping off a small slice off one side of the potato so it has a flat side to sit on.
Now set the potato on that flat side and make small slices through the potato.
Now stack those slices up (about 3-4 at a time).
Cut the potatoes into strips.
And then again the opposite way. The result: diced potatoes.
You will need about 2 cups of diced potatoes.
You’ll also want 1 cup of sliced carrots.
Once the veggies are all chopped, return to the peppers. Peel all of the peppers and don’t worry if you can’t get all the skin off… it will still taste the same. Mince the jalapeños.
And coarsely chop the bell peppers. (If you used corn on the cob, cut corn kernels from cobs at this time too.) Set aside.
Cut your tortillas into strips and place them in a single layer on a baking sheet, lightly coat with cooking spray, and broil for about 3 minutes or until golden brown, turning after 2 minutes. Set these aside as well.
Make the meatballs, if you’re feeling ambitious. Obviously, skip this step if you decide to use frozen meatballs. Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 garlic clove, panko, and the next 3 ingredients (through chipotle chile) in a large bowl, and gently mix until just combined. With moist hands, shape the meat mixture into 24 meatballs (about 2 tablespoons each).
Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs to pan and sauté for 6-8 minutes, stirring to brown on all sides.
Once browned, remove and set aside. There’s an awful lot of “setting aside” in this recipe. No wonder it’s so time consuming!
Add the onion, potatoes, and carrot to pan (I needed more olive oil at this point too) sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add your minced garlic cloves and cook for another minute. Add peppers, broth, and water and bring to a boil.
Also, if you’re using frozen meatballs, at this time add one minced chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce or one tabelspoon of the sauce.
Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until vegetables are almost tender, stirring occasionally. When the vegetables are ready, return meatballs to pan.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the corn. Returning the soup to a simmer.
Cook for 10 minutes, until meatballs are done. Get your toppings ready while the soup is finishing. Grate the cheese and chop the cilantro.
Serve with Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese and cilantro. Top evenly with tortilla strips.
I decided I needed more cheese.
If you like my changes, print the recipe here: Tortilla Meatball Soup