The Art of Mexican Cooking

Hosted by


 Before Mexican food became ubiquitous in Los Angeles and known throughout the United States, British writer Diana Kennedy set about cataloging the special flavors of Mexico's regions during the late 1950's and early 60's in her seminal work, The Art of Mexican Cooking.

Sopa de Albóndigas
Serves 6

The Meatballs
1 Tablespoon unconverted long-grain rice
6 ozs (180 g) finely ground pork with a little fat
6 ozs (180 g) finely ground beef with a little fat
1 egg
1/8 tsp cumin seeds, crushed
3 leaves fresh mint
1/2 tsp dried Mexican oregano
2 Tablespoons roughly chopped white onion
4 black peppercorns, crushed
Sea salt to taste
1/4 cup (65 ml) finely crumbled chicharrón (optional)

The Broth
1/2 lb (225 g) tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 heaping tablespoon roughly chopped white onion
2 small garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1 Tablespoon lard or vegetable oil
About 7 cups (1.75 l) homemade chicken, beef or vegetable broth, or water
Sea salt to taste
4 ozs (115 g) potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch (6.25 mm) cubes
6 ozs (180 g; about 3 medium) carrots, cleaned and cut into 1/4-inch (6.25 mm) cubes
6 ozs (180 g) zucchini, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch (6.25 mm) cubes
4 yellow wax (Fresno) chiles or 2 chipotles en adobo
2 large sprigs mint
3 large sprigs cilantro

Cover the rice with boiling water and leave to leave to soak for 20 minutes. Mix the meats together well in a large bowl. Put the remaining meatball ingredients, except the chicharrón, in the blender jar and blend until smooth. Add this to the meats with the crumbled chicharrón and work, preferably with your hands, until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Set aside to season while you prepare the broth.

Put the tomatoes, onion and garlic into the blender jar and blend smooth. Heat the lard or oil in the soup pan, add the blended ingredients and cook over medium heat until reduced and seasoned - about 5 minutes. Add the broth or water and salt to taste; bring up to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and carrots and cook for 8 minutes more. Add the zucchini and continue cooking over low heat. Divide the meat mixture into 24 or 36 small balls and add to the broth with the chiles and herbs. Continue cooking over low heat until the meatballs are cooked through and the vegetables are very tender. A thin sheen of fat will cover the surface - about 45 minutes.

Music break: A Room with a VU Meter by Chris Joss