Note: Serve with warm tortillas and a bottle of hot sauce for those who want to spice it up. From "Quick & Easy Mexican Cooking," by Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee.
• 2 tbsp. olive oil
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 bay leaves
• 9 c. beef broth
• 1 (28-oz.) can diced tomatoes, including juice
• 2 large carrots, sliced
• 1 lb. ground beef or pork
• 1 c. chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
• 1/2 c. uncooked long-grain white rice
• 1 egg
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Heat olive oil in large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and bay leaves, and sauté until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes and juice, and carrots. Bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine meat, 1 cup cilantro, rice, egg, salt, black pepper and cumin. Mix well and pinch off small free-form balls with your fingers or by teaspoonsful.
When soup is boiling, add meatballs. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and let boil until meatballs are tender and cooked through, about another 15 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper.
Ladle soup into large bowls. Garnish with remaining cilantro and serve immediately.
Variation: Add about 11/2 cups fresh or frozen peas during last 5 minutes of simmering. For a lighter soup, use chicken instead of beef broth.